2012-09-26 / Front Page

Saland Ekes Out GOP Nod

Di Carlo still in race as Conservative
By Eric Gross & Douglas Cunningham

Absentee ballots and writein votes opened Monday at Board of Elections headquarters in Poughkeepsie have given State Senator Steven Saland a 107-vote lead in the closest contest of the veteran lawmaker’s threedecade career.

But as much, the squeaking close finish is also a sign that conservative voters were not willing to let Saland’s vote in favor of gay marriage go unnoticed. Neil Di Carlo ran almost entirely on social issues, and nearly upset Saland. Di Carlo unsuccessfully primaried Nan Hayworth in 2010 for the Republican Congressional nod.

Final numbers Monday have Saland with 5,288 votes to Di Carlo’s 5,181 votes.

On Primary night, Saland led his challenger by only 41 votes.

Putnam Elections Commissioner Anthony Scannapieco said Di Carlo received 37 absentee votes to Saland’s 33 during tabulation at Board of Elections headquarters in Carmel while in Poughkeepsie, Dutchess Board of Elections Commissioner Erik Haight said Saland received 286 absentee votes to DiCarlo’s 217.

A total of 34 absentee and affidavit ballots in Dutchess County have been set aside so a judge can review them. Elections Commissioner Fran Knapp called it “impossible for Mr. Saland to lose. Even though the results are unofficial, he won the contest.”

Saland reacted to the victory: “I am honored and gratified that GOP voters have supported and selected me to serve as their candidate. As with each and every election I have entered, I will work hard to gain the support of the general electorate since I believe it is critically important to represent all of the people regardless of their party affiliation.”

Saland has already been endorsed by the Independence Party while Di Carlo did win an Opportunity to Ballot and will represent the Conservative Party on the November ballot. Conservative Party backers, in particular among conservative voters, are usually against gay marriage and favor pro-life candidates, positions

Di Carlo also shares.

The new 41st District includes Kent, Putnam Valley and Philipstown and the majority of Dutchess County.

The winner will face off against Democrat Terry Gipson in the general election.

Di Carlo sought to cast the results as a victory, noting his combined totals and the fact that he does have the Conservative line.

“Despite being outspent $700,000 to my $25,000, I have shown that integrity matters and that ideas and morals matters more than money,” Di Carlo said Monday. “ I have also exposed the Senator for what he is, a RINO. Governor Cuomo’s and Mayor Bloomberg’s recent endorsements of Senator Saland prove that they believe he is more of a progressive Democrat than the Democrat candidate.”

Considering that Di Carlo has the Conservative nod -- without which it’s difficult for a Republican to win in New York -- and that Gipson is running hard, the race this fall could be a political brawl. It seems unlikely that conservative Republicans were willing to punish Saland in such numbers, but are now ready to return to the fold.

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