Where goeth M&M?

With the exception of lunatic fringes, it would seem most people have moved on from the presidential election. But there may be many weeks before a definitive tally comes in on two closely-contested state senate races in our area.

I use the word closely advisedly, since yet to be counted absentee ballots could swing those elections from Republican to Democrat, meaning, in the granting of fervent wishes of Michelle Hinchey of Saugerties and Jen Metzger of Rosendale, that they will ultimately triumph over Mike Martucci of Orange County and Rich Amedure of rural Albany, respectively.

I’ll admit, in hindsight that declaring Hinchey and Metzger losers a few days after election night returns showed them down by an average of about 9,500 votes a bit premature. My bad. Election officials tell us there are something like 25,000 ballots out there to be counted in each race. And there is every indication that the majority of those early votes will go Democrat. But a simple majority will not suffice to pull M&M from the abyss.

Traditionally, what are generally called “absentee ballots” (in much smaller numbers than this year) followed the “machine vote” cast on election night. Down at the machine usually meant down for the count.

With more than half the votes cast in early voting, many in Ulster County in Democratic strongholds, the odds of Metzger and Hinchey polling the 65 percent of those ballots they need to take a lead are long, but possible.

For reference, we go back to another major race settled by the absentee vote, Democrat Elliott Auerbach versus Republican Jim Quigley for county comptroller in 2008. On election night Auerbach was down some 600 votes but with at least 2,000 absentees to be counted. He did not give up, nor did he cry fraud, he did not cry foul or fookim.  Auerbach emerged the winner after several weeks of nail-biting ballot counting and was twice reelected. Quigley, unlike some recent Republicans, was a gracious loser, emerging the following year on the way to three terms as town of Ulster supervisor.

So, what if Ulster’s promising stars ultimately lose?  Plan B for M&M, sweet jobs in Albany, we can predict with some confidence, public service being its own reward.

Meanwhile, another pass at the race for congress between incumbent Democrat Antonio Delgado and Republican challenger Kyle Van De Water would seem warranted.

I thought first-termer Delgado of Rhinebeck a mortal lock, what with exceedingly friendly media coverage during his first term and millions in a bulging war chest. Wrong again.

For most of the summer. Van De Water looked like a stand-in for Dutchess County executive Marc Molinaro in ’22. So hopeless seemed his quest, I thought he might change his name to Underwater.

But Van De Water, a virtual unknown with empty pockets six months ago, roared down the stretch like Sea Biscuit, polling almost 135,000 votes to trail the incumbent by only about 7,200. Perhaps hearing hoofbeats, Delgado declared victory only days after machine tallies were announced. Van De Water’s “not so fast, Delgado” was his most memorable during the campaign, much, much better than his blaming Delgado for the pandemic.

Does the army reserve major know something or simply whistling past the cemetery? Unlike Metzer and Hinchey, who trail by thousands, Delgado leads by a near similar margin, and with a torrent of Democratic votes yet to be counted.

And finally, I won’t be saying much on the national scene other than to observe that Joe Biden sounds better as president-elect than as candidate. Can’t we give peace a chance?