Capital Region

New York State Senate poised to flip to Democratic control

Four Capital Region incumbents re-elected
State Sen. James Tedisco signs in to vote at the Glenville Senior Center on Tuesday.
State Sen. James Tedisco signs in to vote at the Glenville Senior Center on Tuesday.

CAPITAL REGION — The balance of power in the state Senate — the last bastion of Republican control in New York state government — appears to have shifted in Tuesday’s election.

Yonkers Democrat Andrea Stewart-Cousins, a likely candidate for senate majority leader, announced Tuesday evening that her party had achieved that long-elusive goal.

Various media outlets also called the race for Senate control in Democratic favor. The Assembly majority, governor and comptroller all are Democrats, as is the newly elected Attorney General.

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If the Senate did flip, it didn’t get help from the Capital Region. Four of the five seats here were held by Republicans before the election, and the GOP won them all by comfortable margins. 

Republicans James Tedisco, George Amedore and James Seward each claimed victory in their races, as did Democrat Neil Breslin. Those four incumbents have nearly a century of combined service in the two houses of the state Legislature.

Republican Daphne Jordan won the only race of the five that didn’t include an incumbent.

Here are the election results available, as of late Tuesday evening, all of them unofficial:

43RD DISTRICT: Jordan beats Gladd

Democrat Aaron Gladd and Republican Daphne Jordan were running for the seat being vacated by Republican Sen. Kathy Marchione after three terms.

Jordan defeated Gladd 52 percent to 43 percent.

Neither candidate returned calls for comment late Tuesday.

The 43rd state Senate District comprises parts of Columbia, Rensselaer, Saratoga and Washington counties. It has been represented by Republicans for years, including Roy McDonald before Marchione and Joe Bruno before McDonald.

Gladd, a native of the Adirondacks, worked in the deputy majority leader’s office in the state Senate, joined the Army and led an engineer platoon in combat in Afghanistan and later worked as Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s deputy director of policy. Gladd resides in Brunswick with his wife, Samantha, and their two children.

Jordan has served as a Halfmoon Town Board member and was Marchione’s legislative director. She formerly ran a small business, has been involved in administration of the Clifton Park-Halfmoon Public Library and supports the Shenendehowa boys swimming and diving teams. She and her husband, Phil, have two sons. 

44th DISTRICT: Breslin beats Davis

Republican Christopher Davis was challenging incumbent Democrat Neil Breslin in a rematch of the 2016 election he lost badly.

Breslin won 68 percent to 29 percent this time around.

The 44th state Senate District comprises the densely populated areas of eastern Albany County, as well as the cities of Troy and Rensselaer in western Rensselaer County.

Breslin has represented the area in the state Senate since 1996. He is a lifelong Albany resident and part of a family that has been prominent for decades in civic life in the county: His brother Michael was a county executive, and his brother Thomas was a county judge for 18 years.

Davis, a married father of three, grew up in Cohoes and still lives there. He holds a doctorate in medical epidemiology and has worked for the state Department of Health in multiple public health capacities, as well as in the private sector.

46TH DISTRICT: Amedore beats Strong

Incumbent Republican George Amedore easily turned aside a challenge from Democrat Pat Strong.

The vote was 55 percent to 42 percent in his favor.

Amedore now waits to see if he is part of a new Republican minority in the Senate.

“I haven’t talked to anyone on that yet,” he said at around 11:15 p.m. “I just hope and pray for upstate New York, because we know at one time when they had control in 2009 it was very difficult for upstate New York.”

He said he’d represent upstate New York, not just his district, if downstate Democrats take full control of the state government.

But on Tuesday night, Amedore took time to revel in his win. 

“I feel great,” he said. “This is a team victory; we had a great team.”

He thanked supporters, donors, volunteers, people who put signs on their lawns, those who made phone calls and sent emails.

“Or just going out and voting,” he added.

The 46th state Senate District sprawls across the Mohawk and Hudson valleys and northern Catskills, including parts of Albany, Greene, Montgomery, Schenectady and Ulster counties.

Amedore is a two-term senator and, before that, a two-and-a-half-term assemblyman who also helps run his family’s home building and development business. He and his wife, Joelle, live in Rotterdam and have three children.

Strong is a small-business owner and co-founder of the Business Alliance of Kingston who works to save clients money by saving energy. The Kingston resident and her husband have five grown children and a grandchild.

49TH DISTRICT: Tedisco beats Ostrelich

Incumbent Republican James Tedisco handily defeated Democrat Michelle Ostrelich.

The vote was 56 percent to 40 percent.

“I appreciate her zealousness, her hard work … I think she ran a good, hard campaign,” he said at 11:30 p.m. 

However, he added, “The contrast could not have been greater for the two of us.”

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The only common ground he saw with her was on education aid reform.

Having won re-election to the Senate, Tedisco was left to ponder the Senate itself: It looked like the Democrats might take control, putting him in the minority, just as he had been for a third of a century in the Assembly.

“It’ll be deja vu all over again,” he said. “But I know what it’s like to be in that position. … I’m going to work hard wherever I am.”

Tedisco noted his successes in the Assembly minority, including his advocacy for the property tax cap, and said he’d have more successes if he found himself in the Senate majority.

“I’ve got to be more convincing with my colleagues if I’m in the minority.”

Like Amedore, he worried about the impact on his sprawling, largely rural upstate district, if downstate Democrats win control of state government.

“That will not be the definition of representative democracy, if that happens,” Tedisco said.

The 49th state Senate District spans parts of Fulton, Hamilton, Herkimer, Saratoga and Schenectady counties. 

Ostrelich, a Niskayuna resident, is an attorney, activist and mother of two. She has been involved in her community as a member of the zoning board, Parent-Teacher Organization and Ellis Hospital Foundation, among other things.

Tedisco, of Glenville, was first elected to the state Assembly in 1982 and served there for 34 years, including as minority leader, before winning election to Hugh Farley’s seat upon his retirement in 2016. 

51ST DISTRICT: Seward beats St. George

Longtime incumbent James Seward beat Democrat Joyce St. George, 62 percent to 34 percent.

“I am very gratified by the results in the election this year,” Seward said.

With talk before the election of a “blue wave” of Democratic victories, “This has been a difficult year politically, yet the voters have stuck with me,” he said. 

Seward noted that he had two nationally watched, bitterly fought and closely contested congressional races in his district — Faso-Delgado and Tenney-Brinidisi.

“There’s a lot of divisiveness and polarization associated with those races,” he added, but a much larger percentage of the electorate voted for him than for any of those four congressional candidates.

The 51st state Senate District is one of the largest in New York, sprawling through nine counties from Ithaca to Auburn to Herkimer and almost to New Paltz.

St. George has a wide-ranging resume, having worked as a crisis counselor, adjunct professor, rape counselor, writer, corruption investigator and consultant over the years. She has spent time and effort since 2016 working in opposition to the Trump administration’s initiatives. She and her husband, Frank Canavan, are longtime Delaware County residents.

Seward first won election to the state Senate in 1986 and has risen to positions of leadership in the Senate in the subsequent decades. Priority issues have included health insurance and economic development, and he boasts of being readily accessible to constituents. He and his wife, Cynthia, live in Milford and have two grown children. 

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