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BATAVIA – Former ward Councilman James R. Russell apparently is heading for an at-large seat after a count of absentee ballots shows him with a 55-vote lead.

Russell, a Republican, beat Democrat Laura Russell-Ricci to complete one of two terms vacated when Marianne Clattenburg and Frank C. Ferrando were elected to the County Legislature. He had a 42-vote lead in initial returns.

Nearly 300 absentee ballots have been counted. However, the result will not be official until a Monday deadline, but few if any more mail votes are expected, and they would need to be postmarked no later than Nov. 5, according to the Board of Elections.

The other at-large seat went to Republican Brooks M. Hawley, who had no opposition. The two must run again next year when all three at-large terms are up.