Catskills voters: Never say your vote doesn't count.
After a long court battle that resulted in the counting of 99 contested ballots, Democrat Cecilia Tkaczyk has won the race for the 46th state senate district by just 19 votes, upending Republican George Amedore's previous 37-vote lead.
Amedore was declared the winner of the race by a Montgomery County judge in December, a decision that Tkaczyk's campaign appealed. Amedore has technically been a member of the state Senate since January 1, though he opted not to vote until the outcome of the race had been ultimately decided.
Eight of the 99 ballots were counted Thursday in Greene County, and an additional 90 were counted today in Ulster County. One of the 99 ballots remains to be counted, and another ballot was found this week by election officials.
After the ballot count was announced, Tkaczyk told her supporters on Facebook:
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.
Amedore, who at one point was certified the winner in the race and who declared victory on more than one occasion, issued a statement Friday in which he did not mention Tkaczyk by name, did not acknowledge her victory and did not congratulate her.
“I want to thank the constituents that I’ve had the honor to serve (as a state Assemblyman), as well as those who supported me in this campaign,” his statement read. “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.”
The 46th District includes all of Greene and Montgomery County and part of Ulster, Schenectady and Albany County.