Phil Steck will get the nod to succeed three-term state Assemblyman Bob Reilly on the Democratic ticket, according to unofficial results from Thursday night’s primary.
The four-term Albany County Legislator made a strong showing in both Albany and Schenectady counties to secure the Democratic nomination for the state Assembly's newly redrawn 110th District.
Steck was thrilled by his victory and credited his work in Schenectady for pushing him over the top. During his campaigning, he said he visited every single registered Democrat in the city of Schenectady in an effort to drum up votes.
"We're thrilled with the victory," Steck said late Wednesday night. "We had a tremendous grass roots effort."
And the effort worked. Steck nearly doubled the vote totals of Kevin Frazier in Schenectady County, according to unofficial results.
Frazier, an aid to longtime state Assemblyman Ron Canestrari who was endorsed by Reilly, managed a second-place finish despite a strong showing in Albany County. But despite being more than 500 votes behind Steck, he didn't seem ready to throw in the towel.
"The bottom line is there's an awful lot of paper out there," said Jim Plastiras, Frazier's campaign manager. "From the numbers I've seen, its too close to call."
Niskayuna town Supervisor Joe Landry fell more than 1,000 votes behind Steck, despite handily beating him in Schenectady County. Albany County Legislator Tim Nichols finished a distant fourth.
Brian Quail, chairman of the Schenectady County Democratic Committee, said the party will now unite behind Steck as he challenges Jennifer Whalen, the Republican-endorsed candidate, in the general election. He said Democrats will have no problem choosing Steck over the Colonie attorney's "tea party philosophy."
"The sun sets tonight on all division within our party," he said. "With the sunrise tomorrow, we are united behind Phil Steck."
Steck also managed to secure enough Working Families votes to stave off an opportunity to ballot challenge and secure the line for November's election. Landry made a run for the line, but lost by 17 votes.
Steck's string of victories, however, stopped at the Independence Party line. Jennifer Whalen, a Colonie attorney who narrowly lost to Reilly in 2010, handily wrested the line from him, Landry and Frazier.
The 52-year-old Steck works as a civil rights and labor attorney. In 2008, he was among the candidates who ran in the Democratic primary for the U.S. House of Representatives seat vacated by Michael McNulty, but ultimately lost to Paul Tonko.
In the newly configured 46th Senate District, Cecilia Tkaczyk of Duanesburg was the apparent winner of the Democratic primary, according to unofficial results. Thomas Dolan of Coeymans was the runner up, with Monica Arias Miranda of Rotterdam placing third.
Tkaczyk was excited to win a chance to go up against Republican Assemblyman George Amedore Jr. She said she looks forward to challenging him on his record toward the environment and education funding.
“I'm excited about moving on to the next level," she said after victory became apparent. "We've gotten an overwhelming amount of support from people all over the district."
Some pundits say the new Senate seat was tailor-made for Amedore, since it includes much of his Assembly district. But Tkaczyk vowed a strong showing in the district, which includes all of Montgomery, Greene and Ulster counties and parts of Schenectady and Albany counties.
"Nobody owns this district," she said.
In Albany County, two-term incumbent District Attorney David Soares survived a challenge from defense attorney Lee Kindlon in a hard-fought race. With all precincts in Thursday night, Soares unofficially led with 14,498 votes to Kindlon’s 10,132.
In the 44th Senate District, longtime incumbent Neil D. Breslin won the Democratic primary with 15,645 votes to challenger Shawn Morse’s 6,392, according to unofficial results. The district includes parts of Albany and Rensselaer counties.
In the 109th Assembly District in Albany County, Patricia A. Fahy appeared to take the Democratic line in a crowded field. With all precincts counted late Thursday, Fahy took just under 37 percent, or 5,045 votes. Taking second through sixth were: Frank J. Commisso, Jr., 2,443; Christopher T. Higgins, 2,221; William J. McCarthy, Jr., 1,822; Jim Coyne, 1,167; and Margarita Perez, 445.
In the 108th Assembly District, Cohoes Mayor John T. McDonald III appeared to be on his way to winning the Democratic primary. With all precincts reporting, McDonald had 4,696 votes to Carolyn McLaughlin’s 3,855. Assembly Majority Leader Ron Canestrari is retiring after 22 years.
In the Republican primary in the 51st Senate District, which includes Schoharie County, 26-year incumbent James Seward held a large lead over challenger James Blake with 184 of 255 precincts reporting. Seward had 7,095 votes to Blake’s 1,695.