GLENS FALLS — Matt Castelli convincingly defeated Whitehall resident Matt Putorti in Tuesday’s Democratic primary to earn the right to face Republican U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik in the fall.
Putorti gave up the race around 10.30pm on Tuesday.
Castelli, a former CIA counterterrorism expert who had served in Afghanistan, had 81 percent of the vote with nearly two-thirds of the precincts reporting as of 11 p.m. For complete results, see poststar.com.
Castelli, who currently lives in Glens Falls, celebrated with supporters at the Lawrence Street Tavern in Glens Falls and said he looked forward to facing Stefanik, R-Schuylerville, who is seeking his fifth term.
“It won’t be easy. They will be relentless, but we will be tireless.” he said “They will have unlimited resources, but we will have unlimited will. They will become vicious. They will play dirty. They will throw everything they have at us and to that, I say ‘take it’, because I can take it. We can take it. Our mission is clear. Our unwavering determination and our hearts full of hope, we cannot lose.”
Castelli said he has come full circle when he kicked off his campaign last November at the Lawrence Street Tavern. He thanked everyone who helped in this effort: 600 volunteers who helped knock on nearly 20,000 doors, collected 11,000 signatures and made more than 60,000 phone calls.
“We criss-crossed this district, putting over 40,000 miles on my truck that was featured in all 15 counties of NY-21 at over 250 campaign events, rallies, scouting visits and town halls. We fought hard for this victory and you I have to thank everyone.”
Castelli criticized Stefanik for putting his political ambition above the needs of the district. He predicted that NY-21 would become the most watched race in the country.
“The Frontline Battle for America’s Soul Is Here,” he said
Castelli is also on the general election ballot in the line of the Moderate Party he created.
Castelli and Putorti, a lawyer, had disagreed on very few issues during the campaign. Putorti supports a ban on assault weapons, and Castelli has declined to reveal his position on the matter.
Voters weigh in
Castelli had an advantage among party officials and the public.
Geoffrey Roecker voted for Castelli at the polling place at Sanford Street School in Glens Falls. Roecker said he thinks Castelli has the best chance against Stefanik. He liked his background in the CIA and thought that might help more right-wing people vote for him.
Michael Cantiello, also of Queensbury, said Castelli appealed to him more. He said he didn’t like the Putorti commercials where he said no “Kiss Trump’s ass.”
“I thought it was a low blow,” he said
Jolie Navatka of Queensbury said she voted for Putorti because of his local roots. He also seemed to be the most progressive candidate, he said.
The turnout was light. As of 6 p.m., only 138 people had voted at the polling station at the Queensbury Activity Center.
Queensbury Supervisor of Elections Gary Gifford said some Republicans went to the polls thinking they had something to vote for.
Putorti conceded the race and thanked his friends, family and supporters. He said he supports Castelli and they are united in the mission to defeat Stefanik.
“We deserve a representative who puts the needs of our community ahead of personal ambition and political gain,” Putorti said in a press release.
Stefanik’s campaign issued a lengthy statement, saying it hoped to defeat him for “historical margin” in november
“During far-left Democrat Matt Castelli’s limited interactions with voters who refused to debate in a Democratic primary, North Country voters have already learned that he is just another radical left-wing Democrat who will fully support Joe Biden and the lame duck president Pelosi’s historic tax hikes, supports the assault weapons ban and believes New York’s bail reform “can be an effective solution “. the campaign said in a press release.
With redistricting, NY-21 now includes all of Warren, Washington, Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Fulton, Hamilton, Herkimer, Lewis, Montgomery, Schoharie, St. Lawrence and parts of Jefferson, Otsego and Rensselaer counties.
The district has a large Republican enrollment advantage: 195,405 compared to 146,548 Democrats. However, there are 125,690 unregistered voters in a party.
Stefanik lives outside the new district, but has said she will move to the new district if re-elected.
This is breaking news. More information will be added as it becomes available.
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