Assemblyman George Amedore is declaring victory in the race for the 46th Senate District, but there’s still another legal round to fight before the winner can be named.
The process of counting all the remaining ballots in the five-county district was completed Monday afternoon, with Amedore, R-Rotterdam, now holding a 39-vote lead over Democrat Cecilia Tkaczyk. Leads and margins have changed repeatedly since Election Day.
The final hope for Tkaczyk rests in hundreds of contested absentee and affidavit ballots that were ruled invalid by state Supreme Court Judge Guy Tomlinson, who has been overseeing the counting of paper ballots in the wake of Election Day.
Almost 900 paper ballots were contested by the two campaigns, with more challenges to votes coming from the Amedore campaign. Just over half of these challenges were sustained by Tomlinson, who allowed about 400 previously disputed ballots from Albany, Greene, Montgomery, Schenectady and Ulster counties to be tallied on Friday and Monday. The counting of these votes netted Tkaczyk 72 votes, but not enough to take the lead from Amedore.
“There are still hundreds of outstanding objections that have to be ruled on by the Appellate Court,” said Tkaczyk campaign spokesman Gary Ginsburg. “These ballots include votes cast by election inspectors that voted early at the direction of both Republican and Democratic election commissioners and hundreds of affidavit ballots that were thrown out because of minor errors.”
The potential validity of these tossed-out ballots will be heard in the near future, after the Tkaczyk campaign formally appeals Tomlinson’s ruling.
“When all the votes are counted Cecilia Tkacyzk will be certified the winner of this election and will represent the residents of the 46th Senate District,” Ginsburg said.
But Amedore and the Senate Republican leadership are declaring victory at this point.
“It has been a lengthy campaign, but I am ready to end this political process and I stand committed to working in a bipartisan effort to meet the difficult challenges that face all New Yorkers,” Amedore said in a released statement. “Let’s transition from politics to governing as the people deserve nothing less. We have much to do and I look forward to serving on behalf of all New Yorkers.”
If he is legally declared the victor, Amedore will be the 31st Republican member of the Senate and will join a growing majority controlled by the Senate Republicans and the Independent Democratic Conference. If Tkaczyk were to come back and win, she would be the 27th member of the Democratic Conference, which will be led by Yonkers Democrat Andrea Stewart-Cousins.
Prior to the announced power-sharing agreement between the IDC and the Senate Republicans, it was anticipated that this race would determine control of the state Senate.