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Ballots Remain To Be Counted In NYS Senate Races

Voting booths
Pat Bradley

Many New York State Senate races have not been called, and might not be for weeks, until the record number of absentee ballots cast this year are counted.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, all eligible voters were allowed to cast mail-in ballots this year, and and they may not be counted for several days. The results of early voting and in-person voting favor Republicans in five contested seats on Long Island, the lower Hudson Valley, and New York City, and Democrats in three districts in Rochester and Buffalo.    

In the GOP column so far:

  • Three first-term Democrats in Long Island, Monica Martinez, James Gaughran, and Kevin Thomas, are all trailing their GOP challengers. 
  • A New York City seat long held by a Republican until 2018 might be back in GOP hands. Right now Republican Vito Bruno is leading freshman Democrat Andrew Gounardes.
  • In the Hudson Valley, former Westchester County executive and gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino is ahead of first-term Democrat Peter Harckham.  
  • Freshman Democrat Jen Metzger, who is behind in early and in-person voting, expressed hope in a statement Tuesday night, saying 25,000 absentee ballots in her district still need to be counted.

Democrats are ahead in three open seats previously held by Republicans. In the Rochester area, Democrat Samra Brouck leads Republican Christopher Missick, and Democrat Jeremey Cooney is ahead of the GOP’s Mike Barry. In the Buffalo region, Democrat Sean Ryan has already declared victory against Republican Joshua Mertzlufft, though the state Board of Elections tally shows that Mertzlufft leads in early and in-person voting.
Democrats had hoped to pick up two seats to achieve a supermajority in the Senate, with power to override any vetoes issued by Governor Andrew Cuomo — but they, along with everyone else, will have to wait until all absentee ballots are counted. 

Karen DeWitt is Capitol Bureau chief for New York State Public Radio, a network of public radio stations in New York state. She has covered state government and politics for the network since 1990.