Two months after election, Tupper Lake’s John Ellis wins Supreme Court seat

A Tupper Lake man has secured the fourth and final open seat in the race for 14-year terms on the state Supreme Court’s Fourth Judicial District.

It took close to two months for the state Board of Elections to certify the results from the Nov. 7 election. When the dust settled, John Ellis edged out fellow Republican Felix Catena 148,075 to 148,011.

The other winners were Republican Joseph Sise, with 168,701 votes; Democrat Christine Clark, with 158,330 votes; and Republican Thomas Buchanan, with 154,558 votes. All vote totals are from certified election results posted on the state BOE’s website.

“I’m glad it finally came through,” Ellis told the Enterprise on Wednesday. “It took a long time. They’ve been counting since the end of the election all the way until the end of December. It was a lot of lawsuits and appearances in court and a lot of drama. I was glad the Board of Elections could do their job and count the votes.”

“My congratulations and best wishes to the winners,” Catena said in an email. “I want to thank my supporters and those that worked very hard in this effort.”

Final results were held up initially because of a petition Catena filed in Montgomery County Supreme Court in November. The race for the fourth open seat was close, so Catena wanted the ballots to be counted carefully and accurately. A second court case involving ballots in the race for New York’s 46th Senate District further delayed the final results in the judicial election until the end of December.

Ellis said he learned of his victory at about noon on Dec. 31.

“It was a pretty nice New Year’s present,” he said.

Ellis said he’s required by law to establish his chambers in Franklin County. He said his hope is to set up shop in Tupper Lake or Saranac Lake.

“Unfortunately, in Saranac Lake where (former Supreme Court) Judge (Jan) Plumadore had set up his chambers, that has been taken over by the village of Saranac Lake,” Ellis said.

Ellis said he’s looked at several locations in Tupper Lake, including the former Rite-Aid building on Park Street, several vacant houses, some commercial property and a building that used to host the Pet House animal shelter.

Eight candidates ran for the four open justice seats. Democrats Jeffrey Wait, John Silvestri and Mark Powers ran but were unsuccessful.

The Fourth District consists of Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Fulton, Hamilton, Montgomery, Saratoga, Schenectady, Warren, St. Lawrence and Washington counties.