On election night, it appeared to many that Broome County had some losses on it's hands. Michael Schafer, who was running against incumbent majority leader Gene Labare, appeared to have lost. After the absentee votes, the tides had turned and it now appears that Schafer has won. This means that the Democrats not only lose the legislature, they also have to pick a new minority leader.
Lebare wasn't ungracious, however, and seemed content by the will of his constituents.
"It's up to the people. I don't have a problem with winning or losing. People chose to go in a different direction," LaBare said. "I congratulate my opponent."
Democratic Committee Chairman, Tony Fiala said of Labare: "It's a very unfortunate loss of a great public servant."
This upset gives the Republicans a 'super-majority' in the legislature meaning they can override a potential veto from Broome County Executive Barbara J. Fiala. The democrat was the first woman ever to be elected to a county wide office when she was elected County clerk in 1997, and made history again in 2005 when she became the first female to hold the office of County Executive.
Gene Labare is part of a growing list of Democrats in Broome County who will be retiring, or finding work in the private sector come January. The list of unemployed legislators includes:
Richard Materese, Mario Nirchi, Donald Moran, Suzanne Messina, Barry Klipsch,and Suzann Buchta. With the exception of Materese and Buchta, most of these legislators had only served since 2008.
Democratic Broome County Legislature Chairman Dan Reynolds is optimistic that he can work with the Republicans, but adds that he believes the Republicans control is only temporary and that "it'll swing around in a couple of years I'm sure."