Democrat Michelle Hinchey has made up enormous ground since trailing by more than 8,000 votes in the 46th Senate District race, and on Friday took a lead in mail-in ballot counting and claimed victory.
Late Friday, her campaign said that with absentee ballots counted so far running 82 percent in her favor in Ulster County — her home county — Hinchey has now taken a 300-vote lead over Republican Richard Amedure of Rensselaerville, who was the apparent winner on Election Night.
“Our world has changed immensely since we started our campaign, but that didn’t stop voters from coming out in droves to make their voices for change heard,” Hinchey said in a victory statement. “I decided to run for office to help make our Upstate communities stronger for the future, and I am tremendously thankful for everyone in the 46th District who heard our message and put their faith in me to be a strong Upstate voice in Albany. I could not be more excited or humbled to have the opportunity to represent them in the State Senate.”
If the victory is certified by the state Board of Elections, Hinchey would replace Republican Sen. George A. Amedore, R-Rotterdam, who decided against seeking re-election. The Senate Democratic majority had high hopes of flipping the district, since the Hinchey name is well-known — Michelle Hinchey is the 32-year-old daughter of the late Congressman Maurice Hinchey of Saugerties.
As has happened across the country, mail-in or absentee ballot voting was at an all-time high because of the pandemic. More Democrats decided to vote by mail this year than Republicans, and Democrats have made up vote deficits not just in the senate district, but in many other races where they appeared to be trailing in the immediate voting machine tallies.
A Hinchey win would bring the Democrats closer to having a two-thirds majority in the Senate — enough to override a gubernatorial veto.
Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins issued a statement welcoming Hinchey.
“I’m proud to welcome Senator-Elect Michelle Hinchey to the New York State Senate and I congratulate her on an impressive victory in a difficult district,” she said. “Michelle joins a large and growing group of freshmen senators sent to the Democratic Majority by upstate voters. I know Michelle will be a strong voice for our environment, our farmers and our working families.”
The 46th District stretches from Ulster County in the south through western Greene County, the Albany Hill Towns, southern and western Schenectady County, and includes all of Montgomery County.
“We are facing some difficult times, but I’ve always believed that great challenges lead to even greater opportunities, and that’s how, by working together, we will build a better tomorrow for all of us living in the Hudson Valley, Capital Region, and Mohawk Valley,” Hinchey said.
Amedure, a former state trooper and distant relative of Amedore’s, did not immediately reply to a request for comment.