Otsego County Republicans said Tuesday night that they are convinced they will retain control over county government in 2014 despite a victory by Democrat Ed Lentz of New Lisbon in the Board of Representatives race for coveted District 5.
Lentz, according to both Democrats and Republicans, posted a narrow victory over political newcomer Jamie Waters, a general contractor from Milford who was supported by state Sen. James Seward, R-Milford.
With all machine votes counted, Lentz, a patent attorney and farmer, was ahead of Waters, 751 to 707.
Holding 627 weighted votes — a tenth of the 14-member county board’s entire total — the occupant of the District 5 seat has more clout than any other member of the panel.
But Democrats were dealt a setback in District 4, where Oneonta Town Councilwoman Janet Hurley Quackenbush, a Republican, defeated Daniel Buttermann, the Democratic candidate backed by Rep. Rich Murphy, D-town of Oneonta, who did not seek re-election for the seat.
Quackenbush collected 743 votes, while 666 went to Buttermann.
District 4 has 523 weighted votes, not quite enough to offset the Republican loss of the 627 weighted votes assigned to the District 5 seat that will be held by Lentz.
But Republicans said they are optimistic they will add to their majority once paper ballots are counted in District 8, where Republican businessman Rick Hulse Jr. of Fly Creek held a slim lead over freshman Rep. John Kosmer, D-Fly Creek, an anti-fracking activist.
With all machine votes counted, Hulse led Kosmer, 589 to 556.
In a recent debate, Hulse repeatedly mentioned his family roots are deep in the Cooperstown area, drawing a contrast with Kosmer, who moved upstate several years ago from New York City. Hulse said he would also like to introduce business-style management practices to county government.
Another candidate who couldn’t find sufficient traction with the drilling issue was Teresa Winchester of Butternuts. The Democrat waged her second losing challenge of veteran Rep. James Powers, R-Butternuts. Powers is one of the county’s most enthusiastic supporters of drilling rights for landowners, while Winchester has advocated bans on shale gas extraction. Powers won 729 to 636.