Troy Democrat's victory in state Supreme Court race means a county judge seat must be filled

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Date: Thursday, November 6, 2008

TROY -- The search for a new Rensselaer County judge is on, after Democratic County Judge Patrick McGrath soundly defeated incumbent Republican Anthony Carpinello in the race for state Supreme Court.

Unofficial results show McGrath outpolling Carpinello by more than 40,000 votes late Wednesday, with most of the margin coming from the Third Judicial District's three largest and most urban counties. McGrath beat Carpinello by nearly 20,000 votes in Albany, more than 11,400 votes in Ulster and more than 14,000 votes in Rensselaer, the home county of both men.

With nearly all the votes in across the seven counties, McGrath, 55, was leading Carpinello, 60, by 183,652 to 143,280 votes. The judgeship pays $136,700 annually for a 14-year term. Carpinello spent 12 years of his term assigned to the Appellate Division.

McGrath said he was honored by the "overwhelming support. For 23 years, the public has placed their trust in me to ensure that justice is served, and as a Supreme Court judge I look forward to again living up to that trust.''

Rensselaer County Democratic Chairman Tom Wade said a committee will evaluate applicants to fill the seat on the county bench and make a recommendation to Gov. David Paterson, who will appoint McGrath's successor. Applicants also appear before a gubernatorial screening committee. The appointee must run for a full 10-year term in 2009. Talk began circulating last week that North Greenbush Town Justice Andrew Ceresia, 37, wants the job. Ceresia, a Democrat and son of Rensselaer County Supreme Court Justice George Ceresia, the judicial district's administrative judge, said he was interested.

On Wednesday, Carpinello, whose name also surfaced, said:

"I'm not ruling anything out at this juncture. I was privileged to have had the opportunity to have served for 14 years. I enjoyed it immensely, especially when I was on the trial bench, helping people navigate the system, and even at the Appellate Division, lawyers and litigants would come in on an order to show cause to stay a ruling pending appeal and it gave me an opportunity to ask if I could help the parties resolve the matter. I have no regrets. The system is what the system is. This is my ninth race for elective office. You understand what the conditions are when you get it."

Staff writer Bob Gardinier contributed to this report. Jordan Carleo-Evangelist can be reached at 454-5445 or at