PORT HENRY - Essex County Democrats met last weekend to celebrate a successful election year alongside one of the most high-profile Democrats in the state.
The party held a holiday celebration Dec. 12 at Boni's Bistro in Port Henry, where State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli was their honored guest.
Essex County Democratic Committee Chair Sue Montgomery Corey said the party has been in election mode since July of 2008 and was finally able to take an opportunity to celebrate.
That effort has apparently paid off for Essex County Democrats as they gained three new seats on the board of supervisors and saw two sitting Democrat supervisors gain re-election. Many Democrats lost their challenge bids at the town level, but Corey commended them for their effort.
"We were thrilled to have so many high-quality candidates run this time around," said Corey. "We look forward to continuing to work together."
Essex County, traditionally a Republican stronghold, broke in favor of President Barack Obama and then-Congresswoman Kirsten Gillibrand in the 2008 elections, as well as Democrat Scott Murphy in the March 2009 special election to fill Gillibrand's vacated seat in the 20th district.
With the majority of new voters in Essex County registering as Democrats, Corey said the myth that candidates can't run here as Democrats and win can now be forgotten.
Perhaps the most significant victory for local Democrats as of late has been that of Democrat Bill Owens in the special election for the 23rd Congressional District. Owens became the first Democrat to represent the area since the 1870s, and had originally planned to attend the dinner in Port Henry.
"We're sorry he's not here to celebrate with us," said Corey, noting how the Congressman had to cancel his visit due to illness. "We're thrilled [about his election]. We think he's just a great guy."