Sparks wins GOP primary for District 6 legislator seat
Maroun will still be on ballot on Conservative line
TUPPER LAKE — Nedd Sparks will be on the Republican Party line in the Nov. 8 election for the Franklin County District 6 legislator seat after getting more votes than incumbent Legislator Paul Maroun in a primary election on Tuesday.
Unofficial election results show Sparks got 65.26% of the vote, or 248 votes, during the early voting period and on Election Day, including absentee ballots received by Election Day. Maroun got 34.74%, or 132 votes.
There were no write-in ballots and though 382 ballots were cast, two were undervotes, meaning they did not vote for this position.
Franklin County Republican Election Commissioner Tracy Sparks, who is married to Nedd, said these results include absentee ballots received before the close of polls on Tuesday. The county will still collect absentee ballots postmarked before the election until July 5, but with 116 votes between the two candidates, it is unlikely these will change the results of the election.
Maroun earned the Conservative Party line after the county-level party leaders interviewed him and nominated him several months ago, so Maroun will still be on the ballot this November on the Conservative Party line.
Sparks is also running on the independent “Integrity” party line.
There are no Democrats on the ballot for this seat.
Both candidates have deep ties to the seat. Maroun, who is also Tupper Lake’s village mayor, has held the seat for around 35 years — the majority of his adult life. Sparks’s father, John, held the seat before Maroun in the 1970s.
Sparks said he got more votes than he ever expected.
“I was overwhelmed with the amount of support I got,” Sparks said. “I was very humbled by the turnout.
“I worked really hard to try to get people to go,” he added. “I went door-to-door. I did phone calls. Even the day before Election Day, I worked the doors.”
He said as he’s spoken with residents, and many here echoed his campaign platform.
“People just want to see more activity down here in the south end from the county,” Sparks said.
Now, he wants to get to Santa Clara and Brighton to campaign more before the general election in November.
Sparks is the head of maintenance at Ivy Terrace, a public housing complex run by the Tupper Lake Housing Authority, where the county has offices for some of its agencies in the south end. He said he’s seen the county offices there close, or essentially become empty rooms, in recent years. Working at Ivy Terrace, Sparks said he often sees people looking for those offices and finding them empty.
He wants to staff these offices again and wants the county to reallocate more of its resources to the southern end of the county.
Maroun said this isn’t the first time he’s lost a major party primary — he’s been in county politics for around 35 years — and he hopes voters choose him in November. He believes he’s the most qualified for the job and said he’ll campaign on his record.
“Longevity in government is difficult. I’ve been very fortunate,” Maroun said.
Maroun said some Democrats have been calling him to make sure he’s still on the ballot in November.
He said he always tries to help as many people as he can, but when he can’t resolve a family dispute, a speeding ticket, a late social service check, or a property not sold at an auction, people get mad.
“People ask you for things and you just can’t always deliver because of the law,” Maroun said. “When you’ve been in office as long as I have been … they get mad at you and over time it catches up to you.
“People today are so demanding and so mean if it doesn’t happen instantly,” he added. “It’s a rough time to be in government.”
Maroun said he thinks Republicans in Franklin County might feel differently about him than they used to.
“There’s a new group of Republicans that have sort of taken over the local Republican Party and I think some of them are upset with me for a number of reasons — COVID was one,” he said. “They said I took away their constitutional rights. … I thought I was doing the right thing to protect the community.”
Maroun said he has three goals if he’s elected for another term: bring equal services across the county, keep taxes as low as state mandates allow, and to hire and keep good employees in county offices.
Voters will head to the polls to chose between Maroun and Sparks on Election Day, Nov. 8. Polls on that day will be open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Early voting stations will also be open at the Franklin County Courthouse — 355 West Main St., Suite 161, Malone — from Oct. 29 to Nov. 6, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Nov. 1 and 3, the offices will be open from 12 to 8 p.m.
The last day to apply for registration to vote in this election is Oct. 14 and applications by mail must be received by Oct. 19.
The last day to change an voter address is Oct. 19.
The last day to mail an absentee ballot application is Oct. 24. The last day to deliver an absentee ballot application in person at the county offices in Malone is Nov. 7.
Absentee ballots for the Nov. 8 election must reach the county board of election by close of the polls on Election Day or be postmarked no later than the day of the election and received by Nov. 15.