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Democrat Cecilia Tkaczyk wins NY 46th Senate District seat


It’s official… Democrat Cecilia Tkaczyk will join the state Senate after election officials in Ulster County opened 90 remaining absentee ballots - Capital District Bureau Chief Dave Lucas reports

On election night, Republican George Amedore declared victory over his Democratic opponent, although Cecelia Tkaczyk finished in front. Next step was to count thousands of absentee and affadavit ballots.  Acting Montgomery County Supreme Court Justice Guy Tomlinson examined 887 of them, invalidating about 450... Tomlinson went on to certify Amedore the winner by 37 votes. Tkaczyk’s campaign appealed. A mid-level court ruled 99 more ballots should be opened. The state highest court turned down Amedore's appeal.

This morning, officials counted the remaining ballots in the 46th District State Senate race. Once the votes were counted, Cecilia Tkaczyk was declared the winner. By 19 votes.   State Senator Neil Breslin remarked "it's a wonderful day for Democrats."   George Amedore was thought to be a shoo-in for the new 46th seat - he resigned his Assembly seat so that he could run.

Dan Cantor, executive director of the Working Families Party, says "Nineteen votes has never felt like a bigger landslide."   The Albany Times Union’s Jimmy Veilkind states that "the Tkaczyk lead stands at 19 votes, making it (for now) the second closest race in the modern history of the state Senate. It also means Amedore, a homebuilder from Rotterdam, holds the record as the shortest-tenured state senator in modern Senate history."

Charlie Albanetti, communications director with Citizens Actions of New York, expects Tkaczyk will lead the call for publicly financed fair elections in New York.

Meantime, critics point out that two super PACs backing Tkaczyk spent more than $600,000 in the final two weeks of the campaign. One of them, Friends of Democracy, has ties to George Soros.   Bill Mahoney is a Research Co-ordinator with NYPIRG - he says the voters will be watching Tkaczyk closely.

Tkaczyk promises she'll work hard for her constituents. As of Friday afternoon, there remained one ballot to be counted in Albany County and one wayward ballot in Montgomery County that was discovered this week. Neither will change the results of the race.

Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.