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Tkaczyk to take office after final tally

January 19, 2013
By TIM FONDA , The Leader Herald

Democrat Cecilia Tkaczyk will take office after the final vote tally in the 46th Senate District is certified, her campaign said Friday.

Tkaczyk narrowly won the race against Republican George Amedore by nearly 20 votes following the counting of about a hundred disputed ballots.

A spokesman for Amedore's campaign said Amedore congratulated Tkaczyk on her win and plans no further challenges to the results.

As of Friday afternoon, both campaigns said Tkaczyk appeared to have won by 19 votes out of the roughly 126,000 ballots cast, although at least one more vote in Albany County still was scheduled to be counted. Both campaigns pointed out the vote counts still were unofficial Friday.

"It is an incredible privilege to have been selected by the people of the 46th District to serve as their state senator," Tkaczyk said in a prepared statement Friday. "No one believed our campaign had a chance in a district hand-carved by Republicans, and yet the power of good ideas and a strong campaign proved itself."

Amedore previously was declared the winner of the election by 37 votes and had taken the oath of office.

However, the state Supreme Court's Appellate Division directed the five counties' election boards to count 53 votes cast in Ulster County - where Tkaczyk had strong support - and 46 other affidavit and absentee ballots.

The court concluded Acting State Supreme Court Judge Guy Tomlinson previously had incorrectly upheld objections to the ballots. Tomlinson's decision had made Amedore the winner, pending appeals.

Amedore appealed to the state's highest court, the Court of Appeals, to block the counting of the disputed 99 ballots, but the court decided against hearing the case, paving the way for the final vote count.

"Thanks to all those who volunteered both on the campaign itself as well as the successful post-election ballot-counting process," Tkaczyk said. "I am honored to stand with Democratic Conference Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and my fellow Democratic senators in pursuing the common-sense, progressive agenda that New Yorkers demand. I look forward to hitting the ground running to serve my new constituents because there is no time to waste addressing the many challenges facing our state."

In a prepared statement, Amedore said Friday, "I want to thank the constituents that I've had the honor to serve, as well as those who supported me in this campaign. I am proud of the honest and clean campaign that I and my team ran in this extended race. I was supported by the hard-working upstate families who are faced with tremendous challenges in these trying times."

In his statement, he offered advice for officeholders.

"I believe our representatives need to act on behalf of those who call upstate their home," he said. "As I've done throughout my life, I will continue to advocate for the people's needs and hope for a brighter future."

Gary Ginsburg, a spokesman for Tkaczyk's campaign, said Friday he was uncertain how soon Tkaczyk actually would take office. He said she is waiting for the votes to be certified first.

Ginsburg said both campaigns agree the results are final despite their unofficial status.

"Mr. Amedore called [Tkaczyk] and they had a very nice conversation," he said.

The newly formed 46th Senate District includes all of Montgomery and Greene counties and parts of Schenectady, Albany and Ulster counties.

The 46th district was created by the Republicans last year in an effort to help protect their majority.

Amedore had been serving as a state assemblyman, but he left the post to run for the state Senate seat in the new district.

Tkaczyk's win gives Democrats 33 seats in the 63-seat Senate chamber, which in past years would have been a clear majority.

However, shortly after their majority power was in doubt following the election, Republicans struck a deal with the five breakaway Democrats who created the Independent Democratic Conference. Together, they share power this year. That leaves the traditional Democratic conference in the minority, without a share of the perks and power of a majority. New Senate rules require the IDC and Republican leaders to agree on measures that will get to the floor for a vote.

With Tkaczyk's win, Democrats have gained two seats in recounts since Election Day, giving the IDC and traditional Democrats more than the 32 votes needed to pass legislation if they partnered.

Senate Republican Conference Leader Dean Skelos released a statement congratulating Tkaczyk and calling this an "exciting and historic time."

"We look forward to working with her and all of the members to continue to deliver the bipartisan results New Yorkers need and deserve," Skelos said. "Everyone who knows George Amedore knows him to be a trusted public servant who has always put his constituents first, and we're disappointed that he has fallen a few votes short."

Skelos noted that he also lost his first state Senate race, and added that Amedore has "a bright future" ahead of him.

 
 

 

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