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Some NYS Senate Races In The Hudson Valley Hang In The Balance

The New York State Capitol
WAMC Photo by Dave Lucas

A number of New York state Senate races in the Hudson Valley have not been decided. It could be weeks before constituents know who will represent them next year.

The closest races are in districts with first-term Democrats in seats previously in Republican hands for a long time. Democrat Jen Metzger is trailing in the 42nd District, which had been in Republican hands for years before John Bonacic retired in 2018. Republican Mike Martucci has declared victory, saying the margin of victory at the polls was substantial enough to overcome the number of mail-in and absentee ballots on file with the Board of Elections. Metzger says there are about 25,000 absentee ballots that are overwhelmingly from Democratic voters, and she’ll await the final results. The 42nd District includes Sullivan County and portions of Delaware, Orange and Ulster Counties.

In the 41st District, Republican Sue Serino declared victory for a fourth term in a rematch against Democrat Karen Smythe. In 2018, the race went to absentee ballots. Smythe has conceded, saying that even with 30,000 absentee ballots outstanding, she does not see a different outcome. Serino had more than 56 percent of the vote.

In the historically Republican 40th District, first-term Democratic Senator Pete Harckham lags behind Republican Rob Astorino by about 6 percentage points. Astorino is a former Westchester County executive who ran for governor in 2014. Harkham spoke Tuesday night.

“But the good news is, of the 38,000 absentee votes that were in as of today, over 20,000 of those are Democratic,” Harckham says.

“Only 7,000 are Republican, and then of the 8,700-some-odd non, there’s going to be a split there. So I think there is reason to be cautiously optimistic, but this is going to be a long process. The machines have been impounded. There’s going to be a 10-day wait before we can even start counting, some more absentees will come in,” says Harckham. “So you’ll remember, we won this two years ago by a razor-thin margin — we were the first Democrats in 100 years to win this seat – and we knew it would be tough and competitive and close, as it is.”

First-term Democratic Senator James Skoufis has declared victory in the 39th District, which had been held by longtime Republican Senator Bill Larkin, who did not seek re-election in 2018 and died at age 91 a year later. Skoufis says his margin is comfortable and that once absentee ballots are counted, which are 2-1 Democratic, he expects to win with a margin at or near 10 percent. As of earlier today, Skoufis says Republican Steve Brescia, who is the mayor of Montgomery and Orange County Legislature chair, had not reached out to him.

Republican William Weber leads Democrat Elijah Reichlin-Melnick by about 3 percentage points in the 38th District. Democrat David Carlucci cannot seek another term after having run and lost in the 17th Congressional District primary. Weber, on social media, says that while he remains very optimistic that his margin will hold, there are many absentee ballots that need to be counted. 

Reichlin-Melnick said Tuesday that he expects to win once all the absentee votes are counted. He trails Weber by about 3,300 votes and says there are nearly 40,000 outstanding absentee ballots, with Democratic ballots outnumbering Republican ballots by more than 3-to-1. The district includes a large portion of Rockland County and a piece of Westchester.

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