Strong wins for Wallace and Lifton in Tuesday night election results, and Robertson concedes to Reed in NY-23

November 5, 2014 by Mark H. Anbinder

Early election results from the Tompkins County Board of Elections show Rick Wallace won a commanding victory in the race for City Court Judge in the City of Ithaca. Incumbent Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton appears to have held onto her seat in the 125th District.

Rick Wallace and family. Photo provided.Rick Wallace and family. Photo provided.Wallace earned the Democratic Party nomination for the City Court Judge race in September, edging Seth Peacock, who held the position on an interim basis. Judge Peacock's win on the Working Families Party line, with 8 votes to 6, allowed him a spot on the general election ballot. Preliminary results show Wallace won with 2,772 votes to Peacock's 1,592.

Seth Peacock, named as interim judge by Mayor Svante Myrick to fill the vacancy left by the retirement of Judge Judith Rossiter in July, came under fire in both primary and general election campaigns. This summer, letters and court records came to light showing that, as an attorney in the court-appointed attorney program, he had been barred from certain judges' courtrooms for failure to appear or for being unprepared. More recently, Judge Peacock violated rules that bar both judges and judicial candidates from endorsing other candidates for public office by speaking in favor of Green Party gubernatorial candidate Howie Hawkins, according to the Ithaca Voice.

Judge Peacock's interim appointment lasts until the end of 2014, when Wallace will take over for a ten-year term. He joins Judge Scott Miller on the bench.

Assemblywoman Lifton earned nearly three quarters of the vote in Tompkins County for her 125th Assembly District seat, between the Democratic Party and Working Families Party lines. Republican challenger Herbert Masser, Jr. had 5,310 votes to her 14,156 votes in her home county. Even in Cortland County, where Republican voters gave gubernatorial challenger Rob Astorino nearly 55% of the vote, Lifton came out on top, with 3,372 votes to Masser's 3,157.

In the contentious race for New York's 23rd Congressional District, Democratic challenger Martha Robertson easily carried her home Tompkins County, with preliminary results showing a lead of 14,117 votes (between both Democratic Party and Working Families Party lines) to Tom Reed's 5,761 votes. As results pour in from across the Southern Tier and Western New York portions of the oddly shaped 23rd, though, it appears unlikely that Robertson could best the incumbent. With about 80% of precincts reporting, a rough count shows Reed leading Robertson by over 30,000 votes, a gap she's unlikely to close with the precincts remaining to be counted.

Shortly before midnight on Tuesday, Robertson conceded defeat. "Tonight, I won’t dwell on Mr. Reed. He has a different vision, different priorities, and different values," she told supporters gathering in downtown Ithaca. "In the spirit of bipartisanship and civility, I hope I am the first person to congratulate him on his victory tonight."

Getting out the vote was key to today's local and statewide elections. Outside of presidential election years, voter turnout tends to be much lower. One poll volunteer in Ithaca commented that the roughly 55% turnout (based on those voting compared to eligible registered voters) they saw today was "pretty good for a midterm election."

Nearly 30% of Tompkins County voters left their ballots blank for the statewide propositions on the back of the paper form. Though poll volunteers did remind many voters that the paper ballot had two sides, it's likely that many voters did not realize they needed to turn the paper over to vote for the ballot measures after voting for candidates for office. All three measures are likely to pass.

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