The race for New York’s 46th state Senate district pits Republican Senator George Amedore against Democratic hopeful Sara Niccoli.
"I'm formally announcing my candidacy... [cheers]" Montgomery County Town of Palatine supervisor Sara Niccoli appeared at Star Plaza in Guilderland on a blustery day last March, to kick off a campaign to unseat George Amedore. The plaza sits just up the road apiece from Amedore's construction company headquarters. Niccoli told a gathering of supporters she'd been considering a run since January and toured the five-county district before deciding to throw her hat in the ring. Amedore issued a statement in response, saying he was more interested in representing the residents of the district, not in politics.
As months unfolded there was earnest campaigning by the incumbent and the challenger. A point of contention emerged over the summer when Niccoli was called out on an anonymous Facebook page for not publicly reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. Niccoli explained that in accord with her faith as a Quaker, she doesn’t recite pledges or oaths but does put her hand on her heart whenever the pledge is being read. She believed Amedore supporters were targeting her religious beliefs. The Senator later insisted he never attacked her faith. "...kudos to her if she believes in a God that brings love and peace and justice to all."
When the candidates presented their campaign issues and agendas during an October “Meet The Candidates” event at the Guilderland Public Library, they found they largely in agreement on a few issues: on ethics reform, Amedore and Niccoli said they supported pension forfeiture in the case of elected officials brought to justice on ethics-related charges. Candidates were on the same page when queried about the SAFE Act and agreed that the state should make PILOT payments to the city of Albany's budget to help fund services provided due to the legislature sitting in Albany.
There are plenty of disagreements along party lines, though — reiterated by Niccoli as she took a momentary break from last-minute campaigning: "My opponent opposes a woman's right to choose with no exceptions. He refuses to acknowledge that climate change is being created by burning fossil fuels and razing forests. Also my opponent has really focused on investing in downstate wealthy special interests instead of middle class and working class across the 46th Senate District."
Amedore disagrees, saying he's kept most of the promises he made while campaigning for the seat in 2014. "Trying to make New York more affordable. Bring about property tax relief. Trying to bring good-paying jobs back to upstate New York and stop the brain drain of our young people who grew up in our communities locally, but find a new way of life or more opportunities somewhere else."
Amedore also cited his work combating drug addiction and legislation benefiting children and family services, seniors, veterans’ affairs and education.
The candidates are optimistic heading into Tuesday: "I feel a huge amount of excitement on the ground as we get out and knock doors and make phone calls. We're hearing a really really positive response from thousands and thousands of people, " Niccoli said.
Amedore chimed in: "This whole campaign I've stayed focused on the issues. It's not a negative campaign. I'm very proud and grateful for all of the hard work of the men and women who have volunteered their time to really get the message out."
In addition to the GOP line, Amedore will also be on the Conservative, Green, Independence and Reform ballots. Democrat Niccoli’s name will also appear on the Working Families and Women’s Equality lines.