Gerald Keene wins Justice seat in Tioga County
TIOGA COUNTY, N.Y. - While they weren't particularly happy with the way Tuesday night played out for Republicans nationally, Tioga County Republicans found reason to celebrate in local victories, gathering at Owego's Parkview Hotel and Restaurant on Front Street in Owego, N.Y. In the biggest and hotly contested 3-way race for Tioga County Judge, current Tioga County District Attorney Gerald Keene, of Waverly, N.Y. soundly defeated his opposition - Democrat Dorothy Stevens and Justice Party's Mike Arcesi.
When the final vote count was posted, Keene got 54 percent, or 10,360 votes; Stevens 30 percent, or 5,822; and Arcesi 15 percent, or 2,947 votes. Keene thanked Tioga County Republican Party Chairman Don Leonard and his campaign treasurer Walt Zinc, among others, for their work on his campaign.
Keene said he was happy that in the "crazy" political process where opponents can "turn stuff around" in an attempt to have one or two cases negate his whole career, that voters saw through it and voted for him. "I hope to be a good judge for Tioga County," Keene stated.
Keene also thanked his wife Betty, who he said "went to war with the bloggers," referring to the contentious debate online that erupted around the race for county judge.
"I told her, don't read that stuff,'" Keene said. Betty Keene said, "We worked very hard. I'm very proud of Jerry, I think he'll be a good judge."
"She was wonderful all the way through the process," Keene added, "it has really brought us closer together."
Stevens congratulated Keene, and thanked the voters of Tioga County for their support. In praise, she stated, "Thanks to the wonderful people who worked on my campaign for the last six months, I think we ran a good campaign."
Candidate Mike Arcesi sent the following message in an email on Wednesday, stating, "I did not know if I would win or lose, but you don't know until you try. So here we are." Arcesi, in his email, also thanked everyone for their support.
Christopher Friend ran unopposed for the 124th Assembly District seat in Albany, which now encompasses all of Tioga County. The Republican from Big Flats drove to Owego, N.Y. to watch the election results come in and to thank all the people that had worked hard for him in Tioga County, soliciting petitions to get his name on the ballot. He also came to support Keene in his race, as well as other Republican candidates.
"I wanted to thank the community for their work," Friend said, "they worked hard to get the vote out. Don (Leonard) does a great job, he's known across New York for the job he does here."
Friend congratulated Keene for his victory at the end of the night.
Keene said he was happy and relieved the election was over. "It's a good feeling when people see the job I've done and say I can do the job as Judge."
There are two people currently in the District Attorney's office that Keene said are interested in moving up to his job; first, Assistant District Attorney Irene Graven and second, Assistant District Attorney Adam Schumacher. The next District Attorney will be appointed by Governor Andrew Cuomo for a year, then face an election next year.