After more than two months and much anticipation, it looks as though the seat in the 46th Senate district will finally be filled. YNN’s Nick Reisman has more now on the race that came down to less than two dozen votes.
ALBANY, N.Y. -- “This is just the latest victory, we picked up seats that nobody thought we could win and this is just the icing on the cake,” said Michael Gianaris, (D) Senate Democratic Campaign Chairman.
The 46th Senate district, which stretches from the Mohawk to the Hudson valleys, was added by Republicans as a 63rd Senate seat in the redistricting process, upping the number of seats in the chamber from 62. Tkaczyk was able to keep the race close thanks to an influx of outside money, most notably from the son of billionaire George Soros, who backed an independent effort to promote public financing of campaigns.
“It clearly back fired for the people who made the district for George Amedore because Cecilia Tkaczyk is the winner,” said Jessica Wisneski, Citizen Action.
But Amedore battled back the in absentee and paper ballot count, with the contest eventually turning to the courts. Amedore would be certified the winner by an acting Montgomery County judge, but Tkaczyk's campaign pressed forward. After today's final count in Democratic-heavy Ulster County, Amedore's legal options ran out.
“For me it's it. I imagine there will be a conversation at some point but I don't believe I'm going to be involved in anything else. I've certainly exhausted everything I can think of,” said David Lewis, Senate GOP lawyer.
An Amedore spokesman said he will not challenge the results of today's count and Amedore released a statement thanking his campaign staff. For Tkaczyk, running for re-election in two years may prove tough after such a close victory.
“Well, she's got two years to prove that she'll represent this community well, the communities all across and up the district and bring real victories like campaign finance reform, a raise in the minimum wage, and so many other laws that New Yorkers want to see done,” said Wisneski.
And Tkaczyk herself says she's just trying to get used to the new title of senator.
“I'm very excited, I can't wait to get started, finding out where my office is and letting people know how to contact me and getting out as much as possible as I can in this huge district,” said Cecilia Tkaczyk, (D) Duanseburg, Senator-elect.
What Tkaczyk's victory doesn't do is change the balance of power in the Senate. The chamber is led by a coalition of Republicans and five independent Democrats.
Statement from Cecilia Tkaczyk
It is an incredible privilege to have been selected by the people of the 46th District to serve as their State Senator. No one believed our campaign had a chance in a district hand-carved by Republicans, and yet the power of good ideas and a strong campaign proved itself. Thanks to all those who volunteered both on the campaign itself as well as the successful post-election ballot counting process. I am honored to stand with Democratic Conference Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, and my fellow Democratic Senators, in pursuing the common sense, progressive agenda that New Yorkers demand. I look forward to hitting the ground running to serve my new constituents because there is no time to waste addressing the many challenges facing our state.
Statement from George Amedore
I want to thank the constituents that I've had the honor to serve, as well as those who supported me in this campaign. I am proud of the honest and clean campaign that I and my team ran in this extended race. I was supported by the hard-working upstate families who are faced with tremendous challenges in these trying times. The time for politics has ended and the time to govern is at hand. As a small businessman born and raised in upstate New York, I understand the everyday issues. I believe our representatives need to act on behalf of those who call upstate their home. As I've done throughout my life, I will continue to advocate for the people's needs and hope for a brighter future.