TROY, N.Y. -- A long-fought and sometimes ugly race has officially ended with what both sides call a pleasant conversation. Steve McLaughlin declared victory a week ago, and now he’s officially the next Rensselaer County Executive.

Andrea Smyth has conceded the race, as the county board of elections is busy counting absentee ballots. Smyth headed into the absentee ballot process trailing McLaughlin by about 1,000 votes. She says it has become clear she wasn't making up any ground.

But the race for county executive was much closer than some guessed. Smyth maintains the importance of each vote, saying, "I do believe it’s so important for people to vote, and I’m really excited that we gave them an opportunity to choose."

McLaughlin says he is working on getting a transition team and has spoken to current County Executive Kathy Jimino.

"Far be it for me to quote the governor, but there’s a time for politics and then there’s a time for governing, and this is a time for governing," says McLaughlin.

A question remains as to who will fill McLaughlin’s assembly seat. Nothing has been announced, but McLaughlin assumes there will be a special election.