HERKIMER — Robert Smullen won Republican and Conservative primaries Thursday against Patrick Vincent, and will go onto face Democrat Keith Rubino in November’s general election.
"We obviously thought it was a great night," said Smullen during a telephone interview Friday about the primary results. "It was fantastic."
Smullen announced his candidacy for the 118th state Assembly District in April at stops throughout the district, including the historic Herkimer County Courthouse, with the support of state Assemblyman Marc Butler, R-Newport. Butler announced last year he was opting to not run for another term as state assemblyman after more than 20 years in the position.
The campaign between Smullen and Vincent, who ran for the position for the second time, wasn’t without friction. Smullen was arrested July 24 by state police and was charged with first-degree offering a false instrument for filing, a class E felony. Police alleged Smullen filed false veteran tax exemption paperwork with the town of Niskayuna, in Schenectady County, to receive a reduction in property taxes on his residence there. Smullen was already receiving the same exemption on his primary residence in Fulton County, according to police.
Smullen said it was a minor paperwork error that was corrected and accused his opponent of bringing the issue to state police and "wasting taxpayer resources" over the matter. Vincent, in a statement issued at the time, said Smullen should "take responsibility for his actions."
Smullen, of Gloversville, wanted to move past the controversy Friday.
"We look forward to taking the momentum from the primary and just focus on the issues in the district, and going ahead to win the general election," he said.
Vincent, of Cold Brook, was unavailable for comment Friday.
Unofficial results showed Smullen received 4,145 votes — 55.79 percent — of the Republican vote in the district’s primary, with Vincent attaining 2,999 votes — 40.37 percent. There were 25 write-in votes. Unofficial results for the Conservative Party line showed Smullen earned 93 votes across the district compared to Vincent’s 84 votes.
Vincent did find support in his home territory. Registered Republican and Conservative Party voters in Herkimer County favored Vincent by giving him 1,142 votes and 41 votes, respectively. Smullen, in Herkimer County, earned 485 votes from registered Republicans, and only five from county Conservative Party voters.
Smullen said he will continue to talk about the issues, including establishing lower taxes and providing less regulation. He said he also plans to make stops in Herkimer County.
"I plan to be all over the county and reach out to everyone in Herkimer and earn their trust, respect and confidence," he said.
The 118th Assembly District encompasses portions of Herkimer and Oneida counties, along with Fulton, Hamilton and St. Lawrence counties.
Democrats had some statewide contests during Thursday’s Primary Day.
Registered Democrats had to decide on whether they wanted incumbent Andrew Cuomo to continue to represent them as governor or lean toward the more progressive, liberal challenger Cynthia Nixon. Cuomo easily won with the unofficial results on the state Board of Elections website showing he earned 975,664 votes — 64.49 percent — to Nixon’s 511,661 votes — 33.82 percent.
In Herkimer County, the race was tight with unofficial results showing 753 voting for Cuomo and 746 for Nixon. Twenty-four had blank ballots and seven had write-in votes. Nixon did win Fulton County, with unofficial results showing 751 votes to Cuomo’s 626 votes. In Montgomery County, unofficial results showed Nixon earned 766 votes and Cuomo earned 734 votes.
Other unofficial Democratic primary results showed Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul earned 770 votes from registered Democrats across Herkimer County to Jumaane Williams’ 459 votes. Hochul won the overall primary by earning 48.39 percent of the vote to Williams’ 42.37 percent.
Unofficial results for Democratic candidate Zephyr Teachout showed she received 612 votes in Herkimer County for her bid for attorney general, with Sean Patrick Maloney earning 495, Letitia A. James earning 259 and Leecia R. Eve earning 48. James won the overall statewide contest with unofficial results showing she earned 478,476 votes to Teachout’s 441,628 votes.
On the Republican side, unofficial results showed Frederick L. Nichols earned 90 votes in Herkimer County for the 119th state Assembly District seat and Dennis B. Bova, Jr., earned 77 votes. There was one write-in vote. Unofficial results on the state Board of Elections site showed Bova in the lead with 862 votes and Nichols with 838 votes.
In local contests, Douglas Gardner earned 94 votes in the Republican primary for Manheim town justice to Lloyd Don Hall’s 54 votes. There was one write-in vote. Also, Philip A. Johnson earned 128 votes in the Republican primary for Schuyler town highway superintendent, with John J. Werczynski earning 66 votes and George J. Luther III earning 62 votes. There were also three write-in votes.