Republican candidates hold strong leads in both Twin-County Senate races, but challengers refused to concede either contest Wednesday before state absentee ballots are tallied into next week.
Voting totals from the state Board of Elections on Wednesday do not include mail-in votes. Election officials will begin to canvass absentee and affidavit ballots Friday at the earliest.
Republican Richard Amedure Jr. is leading in the race for the 46th Senate District, traditionally held by the GOP.
Three candidates faced off Tuesday for retiring Sen. George Amedore Jr.’s seat — a position he has held since 2014.
A former state trooper, Amedure, who also ran on the Independence and Conservative party lines, secured 66,784 ballots, or 51.1% of the vote Tuesday to Democrat Michelle Hinchey, who received 58,613 votes, or 44.9%, according to the state Board of Elections.
Green Party candidate Robert Alft Jr. received 1,010 ballots without mail-in ballots, or about 0.8% of the vote to date.
“There is no better birthday present today than the support of the people of the 46th District — thank you,” Hinchey said in a statement early Wednesday morning. “We began this race over a year ago to make sure that upstate New Yorkers have a voice in Albany, and we will make sure each one of their votes are counted. We are strongly encouraged by our competitive standing tonight, the historic number of absentee ballots and the connection that we made with voters of all political stripes.
“We look forward to the next steps.”
Amedure remains optimistic his lead will persist, he said in a statement Wednesday, and is honored by the support received at the polls from voters in the 46th District.
“The numbers that came in last night show that our message resonated: New Yorkers are not happy with the direction the state has moved in under one-party rule, and they want a strong upstate voice to help provide more security, affordability and opportunity in our communities,” Amedure said. “Each vote must be counted, and as that process gets underway, I am optimistic that our numbers will hold.”
Amedure filed a petition with the state and local county boards of elections in the district Tuesday requesting all paper ballots, including early voting and absentees, be preserved in case of a necessary recount.
Amedure’s campaign did not return requests for comment Wednesday about the petition.
Alft expressed gratitude Wednesday for the residents who gave him support.
“I got over 1,000 votes — that’s not bad for someone who had zero dollars in their campaign chest,” he said.
Alft’s campaign brought more attention to the state’s stock transfer tax and addressing climate change, the Green candidate said. The campaign secured the Green Party’s ballot line in the district for the next election.
“My goal was met,” Alft said, adding he plans to return to local activism work. “On those levels, I feel it was a success. I feel very good about it and I am very thankful.”
Freshman Sen. Daphne Jordan, R-43, claimed victory early Wednesday morning after securing a nearly 20,000-vote lead against Democratic opponent Patrick Nelson.
Jordan is confident in defeating Nelson after securing 55.6% of the reported vote with 76,150 counted ballots. Nelson, a Stillwater village trustee who ran on the Democratic and Working Families party lines, received roughly 41% of votes cast Tuesday or 55,953 ballots.
“The voters have spoken, and we did it!” according to a statement from Jordan early Wednesday morning. “It looks like my Senate re-election campaign has won by a margin of more than 20,000 votes. I want to thank everyone who voted, volunteered, went door-to-door, made calls, sign waved, liked and shared my social media posts, helped me, and made our campaign so successful! I’m especially proud that we ran a positive campaign based on issues, not negative personal attacks. I’m humbled and honored to have the strong support of voters and, as senator, I’ll remain focused on delivering real results that make a positive difference for everyone.”
Nelson refused to concede the race Wednesday, as nearly 40,000 mail-in ballots were requested districtwide, and argued the senator’s claim of victory is false. About half of the voters who requested a mail-in ballot are registered Democrats.
“We do know one thing for sure: It will be much smaller than 20,000,” Nelson said of the voting margin without mail-in numbers. “We need basically four out of five, give or take, to actually overcome that margin, but given what we’re seeing with mail-in ballots, it’s not out of the realm of possibility. It’s an inside straight draw, if you’ve ever played poker, but occasionally, you get that card.”
Nelson’s campaign posted a statement to Twitter about the race just before 10 a.m. Wednesday.
“Let the voters speak,” he said.
Jordan’s campaign spokesman Josh Fitzpatrick stood firm Wednesday that the senator was re-elected.
“We’re confident that her convincing election night victory will continue when all the votes are counted because the senator’s campaign ran an absentee program that was second to none, just as our outreach was throughout the campaign which propelled her to a very strong lead and generated significant bipartisan support,” Fitzpatrick said. “Sen. Jordan is honored to once again serve the residents of the 43rd Senate District.”
Like Amedure, Jordan filed a petition Tuesday with the state and local county boards of elections in the district requesting officials preserve all paper ballots in case of a recount.
“The petition was filed in a standard manner as a mechanism to help ensure the security and integrity of all ballots,” Fitzpatrick said.
Nelson criticized Jordan’s petition and claimed re-election as disrespectful to constituents who mailed in votes.
“There is strong evidence to suggest the vast majority of the voters going to vote for Sen. Jordan have already cast their ballot,” Nelson said. “...The fact she sued means she knows how many are there. She’s deliberately trying to mislead the public.
“Every ballot that was mailed in was 100% as valid, as impactful and as real as anything cast yesterday,” Nelson added. “We’re just going to wait and see. You never want to say it’s over until it’s over.”
Regardless of outcome, Nelson is proud of his campaign and repeatedly thanked his supporters and campaign workers.
“We performed as well or better on Election Day than similarly situated candidates in the state of New York that had twice or three times the amount of money we did,” he said. “...And I’m going to be proud of that. We’re very proud of what we did.”