COOPERSTOWN — The stakes will be unusually high this fall in a matchup now taking shape for just one seat on the Otsego County Board of Representatives, with Democrats seeing the contest as an opportunity for their party to take control of county government.
Ed Lentz, 58, a lawyer and farmer who is a member of the Town of New Lisbon Board as well as the former chairman of the Otsego County Democratic Committee, confirmed Monday that he’s seeking the District 5 seat held by first-term Rep. Pauline Koren, R-Milford.
The district has more weighted votes — more than 600 — than any seat on the 14-member county legislature.
The board is now evenly divided, with seven Republicans and seven Democrats, though the GOP has a majority of the weighted votes.
A Lentz win — if voters re-elect the other incumbents and a Democrat keeps the seat being vacated by retiring Rep. Catherine Rothenberger, D-Oneonta — would catapult Democrats into control of county government.
“I am certainly aware this is the heaviest weighted district, but that’s not the reason I am running,” Lentz told The Daily Star. “The reason I’m running is I think I can do a good job for the people of the county and for the people of this particular district. I bring experience as a town councilor, a business person, a lawyer and a farmer. I’m in touch with the community. I believe we can make government work better, and that’s what I would like to do.”
District 5 encompasses three towns — Milford, Hartwick and New Berlin. Koren is a resident of the most populous town in the district, Milford. She won the seat in 2011, defeating Barbara Monroe, an activist in the anti-fracking movement who ran on the Democratic line and was supported by Sustainable Otsego.