The 2012 presidential election featured a feisty Republican primary and a close general election between incumbent Democrat Barack Obama and Republican nominee and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.
But the presidential race wasn't the only one. Local voters also tracked a close race for New York's 21st Congressional District, which featured a rematch between Democrat Bill Owens and Republican Matt Doheny, as well as two Assembly races: one in New York's new 114th Assembly District, and another in the new 115th Assembly District.
Voters also picked a new town supervisor in Harrietstown, and a newcomer was elected to the Tupper Lake village Board of Trustees.
A group of voters huddle around a map of the battleground states in the presidential race, drawn by Saranac Lake political cartoonist Mark Wilson, during an election night event at BluSeed Studios in Saranac Lake.
(Enterprise photo — Chris Knight)
Obama wins here and nationwide
For many voters, the presidential election seemed to begin in 2011, as a crowded field of potential Republican candidates jockeyed for the party's nomination. Candidate after candidate - including Newt Gingrich, Herman Cain and Rick Santorum - charged to the head of the pack, only to disappear from the spotlight.
Romney, one of the early favorites, eventually separated himself from the field and earned the right to bear the GOP line against Obama, who many felt was vulnerable because of a stagnant economy and what some viewed as an unpopular health care law.
Romney surged in the polls after performing well in a series of debates, and it looked like he might pull out the victory with days to go before the election.
But on Nov. 6, voters re-elected Obama to a second term. He won the Electoral College vote 332-206, and received a plurality of the popular vote, beating Romney 51-47 percent.
Even though the North Country has historically favored Republicans, its counties voted overwhelmingly for Obama this year. In Essex County, 58.6 percent of voters favored the president; in Franklin County, it was more than 60 percent.
Third win for Owens
Owens improved his election record to 3-0 with a tight victory over Doheny.
The race began with uncertainty as state lawmakers delayed action on legislative redistricting for several months. When new maps were finally released, Owens' 23rd Congressional District had been redrawn to encompass nearly all of the North Country region. The district got a new number, too - the 21st.
Doheny, who had lost to Owens in 2010, cruised to victory over Kellie Greene in the Republican primary in June. He zeroed in on Owens for supporting Obama's Affordable Care Act and for not doing enough to cut spending and promote a business-friendly environment in northern New York.
The race also featured Don Hassig of Colton, leader of the advocacy group Cancer Action NY, on the Green Party line. Hassig attracted a lot of attention, both for his views and his personality. He was chided by state Green Party leaders when he came out against foreign farm workers; he was also known for his spontaneous interpretive dance routines and his big, bushy beard.
Just days before the election, Hassig endorsed Owens and promised to run again in the future. When the dust settled on Election Day, Owens beat Doheny by a 50-48 percent margin.
In the new 115th Assembly District, incumbent Republican Janet Duprey dispatched her opponents with ease. She pulled in more than 50 percent of the vote in the general election against Democrat Tim Carpenter and Conservative Karen Bisso.
But if that victory appeared easy, the race itself was anything but. Bisso, a Plattsburgh educator, proved to be a fierce candidate. She traveled to every corner of the district and repeatedly attacked Duprey for "double-dipping" (retiring and then returning to her job to collect a pension and a salary at the same time) and for supporting initiatives like the Regional Economic Development Councils, which Bisso labeled as a waste of taxpayer funds.
The race for the new 114th Assembly District began with Assemblywoman Teresa Sayward's March announcement that she planned to retire at the end of the year. In the days that followed, numerous local politicians expressed interest in running for the seat, including two members of the Essex County Board of Supervisors: Moriah's Tom Scozzafava and Jay's Randy Douglas.
Queensbury town Supervisor and Warren County Board of Supervisor's Chairman Dan Stec emerged as the Republican Party's nominee to run for the seat. The Democrats put forth Glens Falls lawyer Dennis Tarantino. Stec won handily on Nov. 6.
In the town of Harrietstown, Republican Bob Bevilacqua bested Democrat Tom Catillaz for the supervisor seat vacated earlier this year by Larry Miller.
The race almost ended before Election Day when Catillaz, a Saranac Lake village trustee and former mayor, announced he was suspending his campaign due to an out-of-state family medical issue. He resumed his campaign a week-and-a-half later.
The suspension had prompted the Enterprise and Denton Publications to cancel a planned debate between the two candidates; it ended up taking place anyway, although it was held at the Enterprise offices and not in front of a live audience.
In Tupper Lake, David "Haji" Maroun was elected to the village Board of Trustees, along with Tom Snyder, who was re-elected to another term.
Contact Chris Morris at 518-891-2600 ext. 25 or firstname.lastname@example.org.