Schenectady County

Tonko presumptive winner in bid for seventh term, claims victory Wednesday

Republican candidate for Congress Elizabeth Joy, center, talks with Gina Bologna Wierzbowski and Glenville Town Supervisor Chris Koetzle at Riverstone Manor Tuesday, November 3, 2020.
Republican candidate for Congress Elizabeth Joy, center, talks with Gina Bologna Wierzbowski and Glenville Town Supervisor Chris Koetzle at Riverstone Manor Tuesday, November 3, 2020.

SCHENECTADY – Rep. Paul Tonko D-Amsterdam, claimed victory Wednesday over his Republican challenger Liz Joy.

Tonko cited state Board  of election numbers that showed him with 55 percent of the vote to Joy’s 42 percent and indicated that his camp expects his percentage to increase as final rounds of absentee ballots are counted.

“I am honored to again receive the confidence of voters in our communities,” Tonko said in a statement. “Their overwhelming voices have called for access to affordable health care, quality jobs, environmental and social justice, and a competent response to the pandemic from the White House that helps us build back better.”



SCHENECTADY — Rep. Paul Tonko, D-Amsterdam, is the presumptive victor over his Republican opponent Liz Joy.

Tonko was ahead 13 percentage points early Wednesday with 55 percent of the vote, compared to 42 percent for his challenger.

“I understand the race has been called in the 20th Congressional District, and (I am) humbled and flattered we’ve received an overwhelming amount of votes,” Tonko said shortly after 11 p.m., citing ABC’s decision to call the race.

But Tonko, who is seeking a seventh term, stopped short of declaring victory, and reiterated that all votes need to be counted.

The state Board of Elections reported Tonko with 161,742 votes compared with Joy’s 124,190 votes, with all but two districts reporting. Absentee ballots have not yet been counted.

Tonko said he hadn’t yet spoken with Joy, who gathered with supporters Tuesday night at the River Stone Manor in suburban Schenectady, many of whom were not wearing masks or social distancing.

Approximately 150 supporters of Republican candidate for Congress Elizabeth Joy attended a gathering maskless at Riverstone Manor Tuesday, November 3, 2020.

“We’re not conceding,” said a campaign spokesperson. “We’re waiting for all numbers and counties to come in.”

Joy, an activist and real estate agent, has narrowed the gap to the slimmest margin since 2014, when Tonko bested his GOP challenger by 22 percentage points.

Joy, a political newcomer, has tacked to the right during the campaign, and has firmly embraced President Donald Trump, touting a pro-law and order message, bashing state criminal justice reforms and branding Tonko as “radical leftist” and Democrats as “socialists.”

Tonko, first elected in 2008, has been a reliable vote for Democrats, and said he would prioritize clean energy and COVID relief efforts if returned to Washington.


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Democrats, who held a 232-to-197 majority over Republicans in the House going into Tuesday’s election, retained their margin.

The 20th Congressional District covers Albany and Schenectady counties, as well as parts of Saratoga, Montgomery and Rensselaer counties.

Over 200,000 voters across seven counties in the region – Schenectady, Albany, Saratoga, Fulton, Montgomery, Schoharie and Rensselaer counties – cast ballots by early vote or absentee ballot in the weeks and days before Tuesday.

From those seven counties, over 110,000 absentee ballots had been issued, 82,000 of which were returned Monday. Those won’t be counted until Nov. 9.

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Categories: News, Schenectady County


Martha Bencic

It wasn’t a contest to see who had the most signs, Bill. And now this place is going to lose their liquor license for hosting this event. Liz Joy doesn’t care about her constituents or science.

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