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Hudson Valley News

Democrat Shelley Mayer Wins NYS Senate Race

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Courtesy of Shelley Mayer, from a rally pre-Election night
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Shelley Mayer with NY Governor Andrew Cuomo and Westchester County Executive George Latimer (left)

In a race that drew statewide attention, Democratic Assemblywoman Shelley Mayer defeated Republican Julie Killian for a New York Senate seat in lower Westchester County on Tuesday. Though Democrats have a numerical advantage, it appears the Republicans still have control of the chamber.

Mayer ended the night with a decisive win. Unofficial results with 87 percent of the districts reporting showed Mayer with 58 percent of the vote to Killian’s 42 percent, a spread that had stayed consistent through the night. The race was one of two special elections for vacated state Senate seats. The other is in the Bronx, where a Democrat also won in a district where registration heavily favors the party. And there were races to fill nine state Assembly seats.

Democratic New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said that winning the two Senate seats in the special election was the first order of business for the recently unified Senate Democrats and Independent Democratic Conference, a merger he announced at the beginning of April. Cuomo had campaigned for Mayer, and showed up at her party Tuesday night, as heard in this audio captured by lohud.com.

“And today’s just the beginning because we’re going to go out and work every day until November and we’re going to send Washington a message, and we’re going to elect a Democratic House to stop this Republican president freight train,” Cuomo said. “We’re going to elect a larger majority in the state Senate. Shelley Mayer is the first step, and she carries the banner for all of us, and she makes us proud. Shelley Mayer…”

“So I’m very, very proud tonight that we’re going to have Democratic majority. We’re finally going to do the right thing. It’s going to pass some policies, we need stronger gun laws early voting, campaign finance reform,” Mayer said. “That’s a real Democratic majority and we’re going to be true to that.”

However, it appears the slim Democratic majority is in numbers alone. Hours before polls closed Tuesday, Brooklyn Democrat Simcha Felder said he would continue to caucus with Republicans. Mayer’s win in the 37th District fills the seat vacated by Democrat George Latimer, who now serves as Westchester County Executive.

It was Julie Killian’s second run for the Senate seat. The former City of Rye councilwoman lost to Latimer in 2016.

“And I just want to congratulate Assemblywoman Mayer on being our next state senator. A hard-fought race,” said Killian.

Killian relayed stories from constituents who phoned her this week talking about how they cannot afford the high cost of living and taxes in New York. Killian’s platform included working to make the state more affordable and retain residents.

“And I really wanted to help all you guys out there. I heard a lot of stories,” Killian said. “There’s a lot of great things about New York. There’s a lot of great things about Westchester. But we do have some this going on, and I was really hoping I’d get that platform.”

State Republican Party Chairman Ed Cox, in a statement, said Killian has established herself as a champion for Westchester and New York taxpayers. He goes on to say, “New Yorkers are fleeing our state and unemployment is up in every region outside New York City, but Andrew Cuomo and Senate Democrats appear hell-bent on driving our state into even further economic decline.”

Mayer says she is honored to be part of a blue wave that rolled across Westchester, from Yonkers to Bedford. All New York legislature seats, including those from the special elections, are up for grabs in November.

Political scientist Dr. Gerald Benjamin says there are some indications beyond the Mayer win that Republicans could be in trouble in November, pointing to a Long Island Assembly seat that flipped to a Democrat and two Assembly races in the Capital Region with Republican candidates leading, but too close to call.

“And we have also had an aging Republican membership, so we don’t know how long some of these incumbents are going to hold on, what they might do between now and November, so, and the national scene itself, the reaction to the Trump presidency across the country and in New York,” Benjamin says. “So I think that, especially in the competitive areas of the state, it could indeed be a Democrat wave.”

In addition to Cuomo, Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul and state Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins were among those standing with Mayer at a Mamaroneck restaurant Tuesday night.

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