By Denise Richardson
The Daily Star
---- — In the 2012 election season, from the presidential to local races, incumbents stood strong.
And while many players were the same, candidates and voters had to figure out newly configured districts in congressional and state races.
In the national elections, voters overall cast ballots for the status quo. Democrat Barack Obama was re-elected president, defeating Republican Mitt Romney; the Republicans maintained a majority in the House of Representatives; and the Democrats held on to the reins of the Senate.
Meanwhile, this year, the city of Oneonta made significant transitions initiated in the 2011 elections. Five of the eight Common Council members have almost completed their first year in office, and the council started implementing changes in government required by a city charter approved by voters last year, including realigning boundaries of the city’s eight wards and hiring a city manager.
Michael Long, previously the city administrator of Poughkeepsie, started as Oneonta’s city manager, earning $115,000 annually, on Oct. 1. This month, the council approved a lengthy list of priorities for 2013. He will be responsible for day-to-day operations of the city, including personnel and fiscal matters, which will allow the mayor and Common Council to focus more on policy.
Mayor Dick Miller recently said the council’s longstanding committee structure will remain in place, but the setup may be reviewed later.
A city redistricting commission reviewed 2010 census figures and worked through multiple map options before recommending one approved by the Common Council and the mayor. The wards have more-evenly distributed populations and meet city charter and other requirements, and commissioners worked to preserve neighborhoods.
The next Common Council of representatives from the revised wards will run for election in 2015 and start their four-year terms Jan. 1, 2016. Until the new term, current council members will represent constituents in existing wards.
In the national redistricting approved this year, New York state lost two of its 29 congressional seats because of population shifts identified in the 2010 census.
Locally, in the race to represent the new 19th Congressional District, Republican Rep. Chris Gibson beat Democratic challenger Julian Schreibman. Moving from the 24th to the newly drawn 22nd District, Republican incumbent Richard Hanna easily defeated Democrat Dan Lamb.
U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand easily held off a challenge by Republican Wendy Long.
In the region, voters gave green lights in state legislative races to the re-election of Sen. James Seward, Assemblymen Pete Lopez, Bill Magee and Claudia Tenney. These office-holders, except Magee, are Republicans.
In the newly configured 51st Senate District, Seward, of Milford, won his 14th term in overwhelming fashion against Democratic challenger Howard Leib. The new district includes parts of Ulster, Delaware, Herkimer, Chenango, Tompkins and Cayuga and all of Schohaire, Otsego and Cortland counties, and Seward campaigned in new areas.
Incumbents prevailed in all three Assembly races. In the 102nd District, Lopez of Schoharie defeated challenger Jimmy Miller.
In the 121st District, Magee of Nelson held off a challenge by Republican newcomer Levi Spires to win his 12th term. Magee campaigned on his tenure of service and the idea that as a Democrat in a Democratic Party-controlled Assembly, he could do more for his constituents.
Tenney, a Republican running in the 101st District, dominated Democrat Dan Carter in Otsego and Delaware counties to earn another term.
In the Delaware County Court judge race, Republican incumbent Carl Becker led Democrat Gary Rosa on election night, but the race was too close to call. After voting was complete, including a tally of absentee ballots, Becker was announced the winner with 9,131 votes to Rosa’s 8,951.
Officials in the area said previously they were impressed by high levels of voter participation, much the result of the race between Obama and Romney, a former governor of Massachusetts.
As far as the presidential vote was concerned, the area wasn’t clearly blue or red.
Obama carried Otsego County, 12,117 votes to Romney’s 11,461. In Delaware County, Romney garnered 9,938 to Obama’s 8,304. In Schoharie County, Romney won 6,497 votes to Obama’s 5,119.
Inauguration Day in Washington, D.C., is Jan. 21.