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NY anti-fracking candidates fared poorly at polls

Associated Press Modified: November 8, 2012 at 12:15 pm •  Published: November 8, 2012

In the town of Union, three candidates endorsed by New York Residents Against Drilling lost to incumbents.

It's unclear how much weight voters put on the fracking issue compared to other concerns such as jobs and taxes. But the Joint Landowners Coalition of New York, which endorsed pro-drilling candidates, called the election results "a clear mandate. The voters have spoken in favor of natural gas development for upstate New York."

Karen Moreau, executive director of the New York State Petroleum Council, also called the election results a victory for gas drillers. "The results from last night's election in the Southern Tier should serve as a clear call for action in Albany to create jobs through safe natural gas development," Moreau said.

Anti-fracking groups focused their postelection comments on races in other parts of the state where winning candidates had taken a stand against fracking while not making it a central theme.

Sue Rapp of Vestal Residents for Safe Energy, which opposes fracking, said pro-fracking groups should not take the election results as a referendum in favor of drilling.

"All these election results mean is that big money is still a big factor in our electoral process," said Rapp, who said the gas industry and related businesses supported Preston and other drilling boosters. "We believe that the majority of residents understand that we are not ready for fracking anywhere in New York state."