Valentine's lead widens in Chester supervisor's race

Chester. Republican town board incumbents Orlando Perez and Cindy Smith win seats Tuesday; Tom Becker is first Democrat elected to the board since 2011.

21 Nov 2019 | 07:30

UPDATE Nov. 7: The counting of emergency ballots has widened Supervisor Robert Valentine's margin and added to the tallies of his challenger and the town board candidates. This article has been updated from the original published Wednesday morning to reflect the most current numbers. Check back for more updates as absentee ballots and affidavits are counted starting Nov. 15.

The supervisor's race in the Town of Chester is a squeaker, with the challenger, Democrat Susan Bahren, trailing the incumbent, Republican Robert Valentine, by 11 votes on the morning after the election. With the counting of emergency ballots Valentine now leads by 19 votes, 1,303 to 1284.

Two Republican incumbents on the town board, Orlando Perez and Cindy Smith, survived a challenge from Democrat Stephen Keahon. After the counting of emergency ballots, Perez is up to 1,323 votes, Smith 1,411, and Keahon 1,323. There were nine write-ins.

In the race to fill two vacancies on the town board, the winners are Democrat Tom Becker and Republican Robert Courtenay. Becker is the first Democrat to be elected to the town board since 2011. The latest tallies are Becker with 1,344 votes and Courtenay with 1,179 votes.

They elbowed out the incumbent, Democrat Vinny Finizia, who had been appointed to the board earlier this year, and Republican Tony Ardisana. The updated tally has Finizia with 1,077 votes and Ardisana with 1,134 votes. There was one write-in.

This was Finizia's third bid, after running unsuccessfully in 2015 and 2016. He walked out of GW's American Burgers, where the Democrats gathered to await results, without comment. Still, the mood at GW's was upbeat, with Bahren's supporters chanting "Sue! Sue! Sue!" Keahon thanked his supporters and told The Chronicle he planned to run again in the future.

There was a great deal of excitement, too, at the Sugar Loaf Tap House, where the Republicans gathered after the polls closed. Everyone eagerly checked at their phones as they tracked the results. Michelle Deshler of the parks department gave Valentine a kiss on the cheek.

The town's top vote-getter, with 1,884 votes, was highway Superintendent Anthony LaSpina, a Republican, who ran unopposed. There were 12 write-ins.

The Chester Public Library also won big. Voters approved the proposition to increase the annual contribution to the library from the town's operating budget from $633,992, to $671,971. The proposition passed, 1,455-1,044, in the most recent tally.

Leading: Robert Valentine (Rep/Con), incumbent: 1,303
Susan Bahren (Dem): 1,284
Town board:
Winner: Orlando Perez (Rep/Con), incumbent: 1,482
Winner: Cindy Smith (Rep/Con), incumbent: 1,411
Stephen Keahon (Dem/SAM): 1,323
Town board (to fill a vacancy):
Winner: Tom Becker (Dem, SAM): 1,344
Winner: Robert G. Courtenay (Rep): 1,179
Tony Ardisana (Rep/Con): 1,134
Vincent Finizia (Dem), incumbent: 1,077
Highway superintendent (unopposed):
Winner: Anthony LaSpina (Rep/Con), incumbent: 1,884
Library proposition: Voters agreed 1,455-1,044 to increase the annual contribution to the library from the town's operating budget from $633,992, to $671,971.