Fourth District: Tassone clings to 31-vote lead

— Though he trailed by 31 votes after all districts reported shortly before 11 p.m. Tuesday night, Democrat David Stott refused to concede the hotly contested 4th District county legislative race to incumbent Republican Judy Tassone.

“This race is not over yet,” Stott told a handful of friends and supporters at Santangelo’s restaurant in Liverpool.

Tuesday’s tally showed Tassone narrowing clinging to a lead, 2,151 votes to Stott’s 2,120.

According to the county board of elections, 132 absentee ballots in the 4th District have yet to be counted.

Tassone looks forward to the absentee count.

“This is so close right now,” she said, “that I’m sure the absentee ballots could really make a difference.” Tassone and her husband and campaign manager Bill Tassone had gathered with town of Salina Republicans at the End Zone on Old Liverpool Road.

The neck-and-neck climax mirrors the result of the 2009 election in which Tassone toppled then-incumbent Stott by a 138-vote margin.

Over the next few days, Stott said, “We’ll be looking at the absentee count, and we might even start looking at voter signatures…we’ll be looking at everything.”

Stott said Tassone outspent him this year by a 3-to-1 margin. Tassone confirmed that her campaign cost about $24,000. Stott spent approximately $8,000.

Over the course of the campaign – which was fought largely via lawn signs, mailers and door-to-door visits – the candidates clashed over the issue of high property taxes.

Stott loudly criticized Tassone’s vote to eliminate county sales-tax revenue sharing with the towns and villages, and while Tassone maintained that she and her fellow legislators made strong efforts to limit town and village tax hikes as they and the county executive formulated the county’s 2011 budget of $1.4 billion.

In the end, however, taxes went up sharply this year in both the town of Salina and the village of Liverpool, and Stott seized on that issue in his campaign.

Coincidentally, both Stott and Tassone reside in the same Salina neighborhood near Thruway Exit 37.

Tassone, 59, ran this year on four different ballot lines: Republican, Conservative, Veterans Party and Independence.

Stott, 39, ran on the Democratic line and on his own independent line called Better Decisions.

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