Democratic Congressman Paul Tonko has declared victory in New York’s 20th House District as he heads to a seventh term.
The New York State Board of Elections reports unofficially that Tonko, a Democrat, won 55% of the vote to Republican Liz Joy’s 42%, a percentage expected to increase as more absentee ballots are counted.
When machine counting concluded late election night, the Amsterdam incumbent was reluctant to declare victory.
"Last night I really did not know the amount of absentees. This is a very unusual pattern this year, but when we looked at the math later this morning, it became apparent that there's no turning around the result, and basically, most of the networks and media have declared the race complete. And I feel very humbled and honored that I have an opportunity to now serve in a seventh term in the house. Obviously you wait, you look forward to and wait, sometimes with great anxiety, to see what your report card will look like but, it appears as though the trust placed in me has been honored, and I appreciate that, I'm humbled by it. And I look forward to continuing the work in Washington."
Joy, a first-time candidate, did not return a call for comment. On social media, she posted, "We are going to wait to make sure all of the Absentee ballots are received and counted."
Absentee ballots that were postmarked by midnight election night will be included in the count. Joy spoke Tuesday night at her campaign headquarters in audio recorded by Newschannel13.
"I'm very excited because we have already done better than any challenger ever before who's been up against Tonko."
With slick ads and enthusiasm on the ground, Joy ran far to Tonko’s right, touting pro-gun, pro-police and anti-abortion positions.
Referring to election turmoil, economic uncertainty and the pandemic, Tonko says "It is now time for all of us to come together and overcome the challenges before us."
The 20th congressional district includes Albany and Schenectady counties and parts of Rensselaer, Saratoga and Montgomery counties.