McGahay wins state Supreme Court seat

Lake Placid’s Allison McGahay, right, speaks with Dave Hatch at an election night gathering at the Crowne Plaza in Lake Placid Tuesday. (Enterprise photo — Parker O’Brien)

LAKE PLACID — Lake Placid resident Allison McGahay earned one of three seats up for election on Tuesday in the race for state Supreme Court justice in this judicial district. She is the first woman from the Adirondacks to be elected as Supreme Court justice in this district, according to Essex County Board of Supervisors Chairman Shaun Gillilland.

Unofficial election results for the 4th Judicial District’s Supreme Court justice race on Wednesday showed that McGahay, a Republican, led the polls with 181,334 total votes. Republican running mates Richard A. Kupferman and Chris Obstarczyk, who earned the other two open seats, earned 152,909 votes and 144,981 votes, respectively.

A total of six people ran for the three open seats — incumbent Democrat Supreme Court Judge Robert J. Muller lost his seat to the third-highest vote-getter, Obstarczyk, by 368 votes. Vincent W. Versaci and Teneka Frost, both running on Democratic party lines, also lost the election. Muller earned 144,613 votes, Versaci got 142,738 votes and Frost got 120,776 votes.

McGahay led the race locally, too, earning 20% of the vote in Essex County and 21% in Franklin County. Kupferman and Obstarczyk earned around 17% of votes countywide in Franklin County, where 39,591 votes were cast for the open justice seats as of Election Day. But in Essex County, where 40,755 people cast votes for justices as of Election Day, Muller had the second-highest number of votes with 17% of the vote. Kupferman earned the third-most votes in Essex County with 15% of the vote, 88 votes more than third-highest vote getter Versaci.

McGahay will be the first Essex County representative on the state Supreme Court since 2008, when incumbent justice James Dawson lost his re-election bid. McGahay represents the 4th Judicial District, which includes Essex and Franklin counties. In February, McGahay said that altogether, the fourth district covered 11 counties, 500,000 registered voters and 840,000 residents from Saratoga County to the Canadian border and from Washington to Fulton County. McGahay wasn’t available for comment by press time Wednesday.

McGahay said in February that she hoped the Office of Court Administration would restore court chambers to the county if she secured the district seat; Muller moved the district’s chambers to Warren County after he won his election in 2008. McGahay said that the person who wins the justice seat can choose which county in the district they want state court chambers to reside in, and she said she’d choose Essex County.

McGahay received her Juris Doctor from the Albany School of Union University and her Bachelor of Arts in public justice from SUNY Oswego. She worked as a judicial intern with Supreme Court Justice Bud Malone in Albany before a three-year stint as an assistant district attorney for the Essex County District Attorney’s Office. McGahay has served as the town of Wilmington’s attorney since 2017, and she’s been a county election commissioner and a private attorney since 2013.


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