Capital Region

What happened in the 2022 midterms in the Capital Region? Here are some takeaways.

Saratoga Springs resident Laura Manhey votes on Election Day at Saratoga Springs City Center in Saratoga Springs on Tuesday.
PHOTOGRAPHER:

Saratoga Springs resident Laura Manhey votes on Election Day at Saratoga Springs City Center in Saratoga Springs on Tuesday.

CAPITAL REGION ⁠— In the national news media, the midterms appeared to be a year for Republicans — and then Democrats — and Republicans again.

But how did this play out on Election Day in the Capital Region? Unofficial results show a moderate boost for the local GOP, some expectations withstanding. Discontent, redistricting and low voter enthusiasm likely play a role in the results.

Saratoga County has become increasingly blue in voter enrollment, but it’s not making much of a dent yet

Within the last 10 years, active Democratic enrollment has jumped from 37,717 to 51,486 in Saratoga County, inching closer to the GOP’s 62,518 count. Within the last two years, Democrats have become the enrollment majority for the first time in Clifton Park history.

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Last year, Joe Biden won Saratoga County by 51.6 percent of the county’s over 130,000 votes in the presidential race (granted, the county has a 20-year history of picking presidential election winners). U.S. Rep. Paul Tonko, D-Amsterdam, won the county’s southern half by 9,295 votes.

State Senate Sen. Carrie Woerner, D-Round Lake, this year padded her 26,862-vote victory against Republican David Catalfamo with 21,329 votes from the county’s northern tier. That’s the exception. Republicans prevailed, including three state lawmakers, three judges and District Attorney Karen Heggen.

Schenectady County would’ve needed to turn solid blue in order to be competitive

Despite being Republican lawmaker James Tedisco’s toughest state Senate challenge within his last three terms in the chamber, Democrat Michelle Ostrelich was handily defeated by 17,079 votes, most of which came from Saratoga County.

Ostrelich, a Schenectady County legislator, would’ve had to bear fruit on her home court in order to pad her margins. Her Schenectady County lead over Tedisco was 2,917 votes — albeit a closer score than her 2018 face-off with Tedisco, in which she won only by 830.

During her race, Ostrelich put progressive issues such as reproductive rights and voting rights front and center. Voter enrollment favored Democrats by 22,369.

Tonko won handily, but still came up shorter than usual

Tonko won the 20th Congressional District over Republican challenger Liz Joy by 53%, his slimmest winning margin to date. In a past face off with Joy two years ago, he won it by 61%.

The senior politician in October told the Daily Gazette he believes Joy isn’t moderate enough for the district. Joy, who campaigned this year on crime, inflation and border security, gained a slightly higher number of registered Republicans per redistricting than her first challenge.

Tonko lost Montgomery County and gained northern Saratoga County in the remapped district.

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Gov. Kathy Hochul lost half of the Capital Region, but it’s slightly bluer than 2018

While Rep. Lee Zeldin, R-Shirley, lost the gubernatorial race by 52% over incumbent Gov. Kathy Hochul, upstate New York was something of a red sea and tiny blue islands. In Rensselaer County, Hochul lost by 5,296 and Saratoga County, 9,412.

She prevailed most in consistently blue Albany County, taking 20,467, according to unofficial returns. Hochul’s razor-thin 570-vote win against Zeldin in Schenectady County is a step up for Democrats, who haven’t had a gubernatorial win there since 2010.

Now that the governorship is off the table, Republicans must chip away the state Senate’s supermajority in order to regain some ground in Albany. At press time, eight races in the upper chamber haven’t been called.

Tyler A. McNeil can be reach at [email protected] or 518-395-3047

Categories: Fulton Montgomery Schoharie, News, News, Saratoga County, Schenectady County

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