Canandaigua Supervisor Pam Helming now leads Hopewell businessman Floyd Rayburn by 227 votes with several contested ballots and two key counties to go
With four of the 54th state Senate district's six counties done counting absentee ballots Wednesday in the primary race, Pam Helming increased her lead by 98 votes. Floyd Rayburn, who fell shy of Helming by 190 votes on election night, picked up 61.
So unofficial results from Cayuga, Monroe, Seneca and Tompkins counties leave Rayburn now trailing Helming by 227 votes.
But with two key counties yet to go and seven ballots so far contested, it is still too soon to call a winner in the Republican primary. Ontario County on Thursday will count about 240 absentees. On Friday, Wayne County will count about 260.
Rayburn led in Ontario County on election night by 46 votes (1,315 to Helming’s 1,269), in the home county for both Helming, the Canandaigua town supervisor; and Rayburn, owner of F.G. Rayburn Mason Contractors in Hopewell.
In Wayne County, where Lyons Town Supervisor Brian Manktelow won his home county, Helming outpaced Rayburn by 61 votes for second place and Rayburn came in third in the five-way contest.
Helming attorneys overseeing absentee counts objected to three ballots in Tompkins County on Tuesday. Elizabeth Cree, Tompkins County's Republican elections commissioner, said one objection was over a ballot in an unsealed envelope and the other two — which were cast by permanently disabled voters — related to application forms. The remaining four contested ballots, also objected to by the Helming camp, were cast by voters in Seneca County. A judge will determine the status of contested ballots.
In Wednesday’s counts, Manktelow picked up seven votes in Cayuga County. There, retired police officer Jon Ritter gained six and former Assemblyman Sean Hanna, five. Cayuga County businessman Bobby Massarini got 11 write-in votes. In Seneca County, Ritter gained 20 votes; Manktelow, 10; and Hanna, two. Massarini got five write-ins.
Rayburn said last week he won the Reform party line Tuesday night and will be on the ballot in November. Ontario County preliminary results from Tuesday night show Helming with one vote and a “write-in” with two votes on the Reform line. Monroe County shows one vote for Helming and one for a “write-in.” Wayne, Seneca, Tompkins and Cayuga showed no votes for anyone on the Reform line.