The votes are in, and the people have selected Judge John Ward as Chautauqua County Court Judge.
The Republican incumbent received 63.3 percent of the vote against Democratic candidate William Coughlin. As Ward celebrated his win amongst fellow Republican candidates at Roberto's on Tuesday, he expressed his gratitude toward the people in the county.
"I'm very relieved and gratified that the people in Chautauqua County have given me the opportunity to serve them for another term. I really enjoy the job," Ward said. "It's been an honor to serve the people as long as I have, and I look forward to continuing."
Ward said he spent his evening at Roberto's speaking with friends and supporters, as well as keeping his eye on the boards as results rolled in.
"(The results) were very positive from the very beginning. Mr. Coughlin ran a very aggressive campaign and I wish him the best," Ward said. "I am just so gratified that so many people have come out and supported my candidacy and I am so thankful to all the people who worked hard on my behalf to get this done."
In addition to celebrating with his fellow Republican candidates, Ward admitted to a friendly competition with Assemblyman Andrew Goodell, R-Chautauqua County, to see who would receive more votes in their respective positions.
"Andy Goodell and I are kind of looking at the total votes to see who is going to come out on top in the total. It's kind of a friendly little wager," Ward said.
Ward won the wager with Goodell by about 2 percent. He received 29,557 votes, compared to Coughlin's 17,097.
Throughout the entire process, Ward said he has tried to run a positive campaign in order to let people know what his record is.
"I've run on my record to let them decide whether it has been a positive one or not," Ward said. "I've never run a negative campaign. I think at this level of politics, you have to kind of sell yourself and if people believe in you, they are going to keep you in office. If they don't, they are going to kick you out."
Although he was outspent by Coughlin, Ward said he achieved what he wanted to in the election. He said he was able to put out signs, bumper stickers and advertising, and was able to fund his campaign appropriately.
"Being an incumbent, you have a certain advantage, as far as getting publicity through the job, there's no bones about that. I was very much outspent," Ward said. "I know that a lot of the money that he spent came from outside of the county, and all of the money that we raised came from within Chautauqua County. He was very aggressive in fundraising, did a very good job at it."
Attempts to reach Coughlin Tuesday were unsuccessful.