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Some NYS Senate Seats In The HV Turn Blue


Following Tuesday’s elections, Democrats are ready to take control of the New York state Senate next year. The Hudson Valley saw a few seats turn blue, and at least one Democratic candidate is not ready to concede.

Two state Senate seats in the region were open after longtime Republicans announced they were retiring — Bill Larkin and John Bonacic. Democratic Assemblymember James Skoufis won Larkin’s 39th District seat, defeating Republican Tom Basile, who Larkin endorsed. Skoufis says he overcame a Republican-leaning district. Plus, he says:

“We overcame the Village of Kiryas Joel and, while we’re at it, we were the only Democratic campaign in a competitive state Senate campaign anywhere in New York that the governor did not make a campaign contribution to,” Skoufis said. “So guess what? When we go to the state Senate in January, we will not owe anything to any of them.”

Skoufis says the Hasidic Village of Kiryas Joel in Orange County endorsed Basile, sending thousands of votes Basile’s way. The 39th District includes parts of Orange, Rockland and Ulster Counties. And Rosendale Town Councilwoman Jen Metzger defeated Republican Orange County Clerk and former state Assembly member Annie Rabbitt for Bonacic’s 42nd District seat. Here’s Metzger:

“We’ve demonstrated that you can win a state race without any corporate money,” Metzger says.

And she wants to get corporate money out of state politics to ensure government is more representative of the people. Metzger says she is proud of her win for another reason — having focused on a positive message.

“We focused on the issues. We discussed the challenges we face in the district in New York and solutions for them, and that message really resonated, clearly resonated, with voters,” says Metzger. “And I think people are done, they’re done with, they’re done with this polarization. They’re done with the divisiveness. They want their government to be functional and working for them.”

The 42nd District includes Sullivan County and portions of Delaware, Orange and Ulster Counties. Meantime, two other Hudson Valley races with Republican incumbents ended up very tight. Senator Sue Serino of the 41st District declared victory Tuesday night but her opponent, Democrat Karen Smythe, is not ready to concede.

“There’s clearly a margin for error and everyone’s vote absolutely counts,” Smythe says. “And I want to make sure that we have them all counted because it is a close race.”

Smythe currently trails by 2,146 votes.

“There’s almost 10,000 absentee ballots that were requested and so we’re waiting to see how many of those come in,” says Smythe.

In a statement, Serino said, in part, that she will continue to fight tirelessly to restore the public’s faith in its government by ensuring that moving her community forward remains a top priority. The 41st District includes much of Dutchess County and part of Putnam. Another tight race was in the 40th Senate District that includes portions of Dutchess, Putnam and northern Westchester Counties. Democratic challenger and former Westchester County legislator Pete Harckham declared victory over Republican Senator Terrence Murphy. Harckham, who once served in New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s administration said in a statement that he had spoken with Senator Murphy to thank him for his service and looks forward to a smooth and professional transition. A request for comment from Murphy’s campaign was not returned.