Plotsky upends Duncan, the party pick, with over 70 percent of Dem vote

Victoria Plotsky

Victoria Plotsky

In the Democratic primary on Tuesday, Victoria Plotsky, making her first run for office, on a platform of reform, soundly defeated the incumbent representing the 38th District in the Albany County Legislature. Darrell Duncan had been appointed just eight months ago.

Plotsky got 281 votes or 70.60 percent compared to Duncan’s 77 votes or 19.35 percent, according to unofficial results from the Albany County Board of Elections; there were also 40 write-ins or 10.05 percent of the vote.

“I’m feeling just gratitude,” said Plotsky the morning after the primary. “People really came out. I tried to go to as many houses as I could … I think people were surprised to have a primary. The message here is: There’s a lot of power in a primary.”

The Democrat-dominated 38th District covers most of New Scotland, minus the northeast corner with the village of Voorheesville, and a piece of Bethlehem in the Feura Bush area. A combined vote of the Bethlehem and New Scotland Democratic committees had backed Duncan, who had been elected as New Scotland’s highway superintendent for nearly two decades. He was then the county’s commissioner of public works for five years.

Plotsky, 50, a lawyer with the Workers’ Compensation board, had told The Enterprise during her campaign she was running “to make a difference, to take care of our rights at a local level.” She said her two major goals were reform and caring for the environment.

She noted an independent commission recommended reducing the size of the county legislature and said some legislators are against it because they would lose their jobs.  She also called for an independent redistricting committee.

Plotsky said on Wednesday, “Here am I, just a lawyer who lives in Clarksville. I don’t have any political connections. We don’t have to accept the candidates the party endorses.”

Plotsky noted that she had more support from Bethlehem, where she had lived for years before moving to Clarksville 10 years ago, than in New Scotland. “They know Mr. Duncan there,” she said.

She also described the election results as a “wake-up call to the Democratic committee.” Plotsky added, “I’d like to work with the committee and see what their issues are.”

Plotsky on Wednesday named her top two issues as environmental and redistricting. On redistricting, she said, “It has to be done very respectfully. We need to make sure people have an equal voice.” She noted that the next federal census will be in 2020 and said, “We need to lay the groundwork ahead and be ready to go to start the process” when the census numbers come out.

During the campaign, while Plotsky said she wanted to end nepotism and favored expanding the county ban on restaurant use of polystyrene, Duncan had voted against a bill that would have restricted county office-holders from appointing their relatives to non-Civil Service jobs and had also voted against an expansion of the current polystyrene ban. He said that such a ban, to work well, should be implemented statewide, not at the county level.

Duncan, 59, had been appointed in January to represent the 38th District by a 30-to-3 vote in the Democrat-dominated legislature. The seat had been vacated by Michael Mackey who became a Supreme Court justice in the state’s Third Judicial District. Tuesday’s primary was the only one for the legislature because of the vacancy.

Neither Duncan nor Doug Miller, chairman of the New Scotland Democratic Committee, returned calls to The Enterprise before press time.

Plotsky’s parting words of advice to residents of the 38th District were to “get involved.” While on the campaign trail, she said, “I heard deeply held concerns about development, water, pipelines, and jobs ... People need to go to planning board and zoning board meetings. That’s what makes the difference on what gets approved. People really need to find their voice.”


More Regional News

The Altamont Enterprise is focused on hyper-local, high-quality journalism. We produce free election guides, curate readers' opinion pieces, and engage with important local issues. Subscriptions open full access to our work and make it possible.