All local state Senate races being contested

Democrats hope to take Senate control
Aaron Gladd (top) and Daphne Jordan (bottom) are among candidates seeking Kathy Marchione's Senate seat.
Aaron Gladd (top) and Daphne Jordan (bottom) are among candidates seeking Kathy Marchione's Senate seat.

CAPITAL REGION — The Democratic Party, hoping to gain control of the New York state Senate this year, would love to pick up a seat in the Capital Region, where the 43rd Senate District is open, due to a retirement.

The race in the 43rd is to replace state Sen. Kathy Marchione, R-Halfmoon. Her retirement means at least one new senator will be elected locally, though all five Senate seats in the region are being contested – even those held by incumbents with decades in Capital Region politics.

The Senate has been controlled in recent years – narrowly – by a coalition of Republicans and conservative Democrats. But most of those Democrats lost primaries this year, increasing the possibility that mainstream Democrats could take the chamber – giving them control of both houses of the Legislature for the first time since 2010.

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In the 43rd, which runs from eastern Saratoga County through rural Rensselaer County to Columbia County, the GOP has nominated Marchione’s legislative director, Daphne Jordan, who is also a member of the Halfmoon Town Board. Democrats are putting up Aaron Gladd, an Army combat veteran who previously worked on Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s staff.

Gladd, of Rensselaer County, has already won something unusual: The cross-party endorsement of former state Sen. Roy McDonald, who was defeated by Marchione in a 2012 Republican primary, after his vote in favor of marriage equality. McDonald said he and Gladd share common roots – growing up in modest circumstances and seeing combat in the 1st Cavalry Division (McDonald in Vietnam, Gladd in Afghanistan.)

“It’s so rare these days to find young leaders who understand that service to their country, state, and community is more important than service to any political party,” McDonald wrote in an open letter to voters. “We spend a lot of time worrying about whether we are Republicans or Democrats, when we should really be focused on all of us being Americans and New Yorkers.”

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Jordan, in her campaign, has called for lower state spending and state taxes and cited her record as a Town Board member over a period in which Halfmoon’s finances have improved.

“As our next State Senator for the 43rd District, Daphne will do even more, providing a vital check-and-balance in the New York State Legislature and standing against the Downstate Democrats’ political power grab that would come at upstate’s expense,” wrote 15 elected Saratoga County leaders in a recent open letter to voters.

The Republicans hold a roughly 5,000-voter registration advantage in the district, but there are 57,000 voters not enrolled in a party.

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Other local Senate seats

– In the 44th District, Sen. Neil Breslin, D-Albany, is being challenged by Christopher Davis, of Cohoes, the same Republican Breslin handily defeated two years ago. The district includes urban and suburban Albany County and the cities of Troy and Rensselaer.

– In the 46th District, Sen. George Amedore, R-Rotterdam, is running for a third two-year term against Democrat Pat Strong, of Kingston, an energy efficiency consultant and co-founder of the Business Alliance of Kingston. The district includes parts of Montgomery and Schenectady counties.

– In the 49th District, Sen. James Tedisco, R-Glenville, is seeking his second two-year Senate term, after serving in the state Assembly for a quarter-century. He is being challenged by Democrat Michelle Ostrelich of Niskayuna, an attorney, activist and mother. The district runs from Niskayuna through Fulton County into the southern and western Adirondacks.

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– In the 51st District, longtime Republican incumbent Sen. James L Seward, of Milford, is being challenged by Democrat Joyce St. George, a small-business owner and rural health care and social services advocate from Margaretville, in Delaware County. The district includes Schoharie County.

More from Capital Region Election Guide 2018


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