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In Albany, Biden, Trump Backers React To Saturday's Race Call

Trump supporters gather at the state capitol in Albany after the race was called for Joe Biden.
Jackie Orchard
Trump supporters gather at the state capitol in Albany after the race was called for Joe Biden.

Albany County Democrats were celebrating former Vice President Joe Biden’s victory this weekend, but supporters of President Donald Trump who gathered to protest aren’t ready to give up yet.

After the race was called for Joe Biden late Saturday morning, celebrations and protests popped up coast-to-coast. In Albany, local Democrats gathered for an outdoor toast at a downtown bar as the sun went down on an unseasonably warm November night.

Second-term Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan welcomed the result – and what it might mean for her cash-strapped city.

“We have a lot of challenges in our country," Sheehan said. "I do believe that there are people who really wanted to see change and they wanted to see voices lifted up and heard. And I think for very many people, that’s something that they see in Joe Biden. That Biden is someone who will listen to them. He is somebody who cares. He is somebody who understands the working the class, he understands the challenges of working families, and that really resonated with voters.”

Like Sheehan, Albany County Executive Dan McCoy is hoping a new administration will mean progress on a new coronavirus relief package that includes state and local aid.

“We need this president to work with Gov. Cuomo and to give him the relief he needs in the state," McCoy said. "You’re looking at a $16 billion deficit in the state of New York right now. So the only thing that’s going to happen with that is, it gets passed down. So without raising taxes or cutting jobs, at a time when people need us the most, Biden can help the governor out, the governor will help the counties out, the 62 counties in New York so we can move forward. And what’s unique for me is being president of County Executives of America on a national level, so it’s the same message with all the governors and county executives from around the country. We just need leadership.”

As Sheehan and her fellow Democrats toasted Biden’s victory, it still wasn’t clear when or if President Trump would concede the race.

“Look, we’ve had a peaceful transfer of power in this country since our nation’s founding," Sheehan said. "And I believe that those who are in power, whether it be the judiciary, Congress, they understand the importance of a peaceful transfer of power. We have an election. People vote. And the person who has the most electoral votes wins. That’s how this works. And that’s how I expect it to work in 2020.”

The chair of the Biden/Harris campaign’s upstate New York effort said Saturday’s victory was “amazing but not surprising.”

Denise Murphy McGraw, who also serves on the Niskayuna Town Board, traveled out-of-state several times during the campaign, including five visits to the critical swing state of Pennsylvania, which flipped for the Democratic former Vice President.

“So I saw people who were coming at this in very different ways and it really instilled in me even more than ever a sense of urgency around a message of unity, around a message of repairing and restoring the soul of our nation. We have to do it. We cannot do this anymore,” she said.

Earlier Saturday, outside the nearby state capitol, demonstrators from both sides of the divide gathered after the race was called for Biden.

Brittany Cross and Kevin Dobies standing at the corner of Washington and South Swan while Biden supporters honked as they drove by.
Credit Jackie Orchard
Brittany Cross and Kevin Dobies standing at the corner of Washington and South Swan while Biden supporters honked as they drove by.

Brittany Cross, a Biden supporter, was holding up a t-shirt reading “stand against racism.”

“Overwhelmed…Excited as well. Just hoping for a brighter future and for the country to come together and be united,” said Cross.

Steps away, a crowd gathered in support of President Trump, including Jeff Mix.

“I basically approve of almost everything he’s done. I wish he’d stay off Twitter a little bit, tone it down sometimes. But I think overall he’s the first politician who’s gone in there and kept his promises,” Mix said.

Trump backer Sarah Decker was already imagining life under a Biden administration.

“I appreciate having less money taken out of my paycheck over the last four years, and especially appreciate not having to give away half of my tax refund to the individual mandate for the first year in I can’t remember how many years, and I’m just not looking forward to paying more taxes under a Biden-Harris administration, so that’s mostly why I’m here today,” she said.

During the campaign, Biden told voters that taxes wouldn’t go up for anyone making under $400,000 a year. He has also pledged to expand the Affordable Care Act.

A lifelong resident of the Capital Region, Ian joined WAMC in late 2008 and became news director in 2013. He began working on Morning Edition and has produced The Capitol Connection, Congressional Corner, and several other WAMC programs. Ian can also be heard as the host of the WAMC News Podcast and on The Roundtable and various newscasts. Ian holds a BA in English and journalism and an MA in English, both from the University at Albany, where he has taught journalism since 2013.
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