After two weeks of uncertainty, Democrat Catherine Gatta has emerged victorious in the only undecided race for Schenectady County Legislature.
Officials with the county Board of Elections finished opening absentee ballots for District 3 Tuesday, leaving the incumbent legislator from Scotia 125 votes ahead of Republican challenger Alan Boulant. While the election still hasn’t been certified, there’s no way for Boulant to gain the votes needed to unseat Gatta.
“We’re well beyond the point of mathematical certainty,” Commissioner Brian Quail said.
The victory was cause for relief for Gatta, who tried to remain cool about the absentee ballot count that started last week. But she admitted that the frequent updates from the count she received via text message started to wear on her as the process plodded on.
Gatta ultimately added 36 to her original 89-vote lead on Election Night. She was relieved to finally be done with her campaign — albeit later than she had hoped.
”You really look forward to the Wednesday [after Election Night], and to not have that closure right away was strange,” she said.
Gatta adds to the already formidable majority the Democrats have on the Legislature. She joins a majority caucus that will include 10 Democrats and two Conservatives.
Republicans had hoped to pick up a third seat with Boulant. The minority caucus is expected to include two Republicans and Conservative Grant Socha, who ran on a ticket with Boulant.
Gatta, the director of marketing for Mazzone Hospitality, will start her first full term representing District 3, which covers the towns of Niskayuna and Glenville. She won a special election to fill the unexpired term of former Chairwoman Susan Savage after she resigned in 2011.
The count included 505 absentee ballots and 59 affidavit ballots. A total of 22 ballots were challenged during the count.
Gatta said she’s thrilled to rejoin the Legislature, especially with two years of experience. Now, with another four years ahead of her, she’s convinced she’ll be able to make a difference.
“I’m more motivated now than I’ve ever been,” she said. “I think we can make some really good changes in the county.”