Wow! The race that almost no one took seriously turned out to be the shocker of the evening. It looks like longtime Democratic incumbent Representative Louise Slaughter may have managed to win a 15th term in a fight for New York’s 25th Congressional District. But her win is by the slimmest of margins. Just 582 votes separate her from her Republican challenger, Mark Assini, according to unofficial results from the Monroe County Board of Elections. The final result may come down to absentee ballots.
Many have tried to unseat Slaughter, but the attempts have failed so miserably that the conventional wisdom has been that defeating her just isn‘t possible. The job is hers until she decides to give it up. But Assini’s near victory shows that Slaughter's tenure may be coming to an end. According to Ballotpedia.com, Slaughter's financial reports showed she had more than $1 million in funds compared to Assini, who reported having about $32,000.
Slaughter is a proud, outspoken liberal. During the campaign. she didn't run away from her party or President Obama. She voted for the Affordable Care Act and continues to support it. She's had an impressive list of accomplishments, helping to get funding to rebuild the Rochester economy.
Assini ran on a lighter, friendlier version of the Republican platform, saying that he doesn't support getting rid of the Affordable Care Act, but that he is up for making some changes to it. He also strongly supports improvements for roads, highways, and infrastructure, which may have struck a note with voters who have grown tired of dealing with the area's pot holes and rusting bridges.
The real question now is whether the unofficial results will hold, and what they will tell us. Did Democrats assume that Slaughter would persevere and stay home? How did the lesser-known Assini pull off such an impressive showing?
And what does this mean for both parties? Will Democrats recruit a strong candidate to possibly replace Slaughter? Will Assini be back in two years, or will he go for County Executive Maggie Brooks term-limited seat? It would seem that tonight's showing will give both Democrats and Republicans something to think about.
Governor Andrew Cuomo lost Monroe County, but he won the state.
At approximately 10:50 p.m., the state Republican Party sent out a statement announcing that Republican candidate Rob Astorino was conceding the race. The Associated Press had called the contest for Cuomo minutes after polling places across the state closed. And about the time the GOP’s statement went out, Cuomo had approximately 51 percent of the vote.
In Monroe County, Cuomo pulled in 46.7 percent of the vote; Astorino surpassed him with 48.2 percent.
Cuomo seems to be performing especially well in Erie County and New York City’s counties. He also lead in Onondaga County (Syracuse), Broome County (Binghamton), and Albany County.
Statewide, Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins has, so far, pulled in approximately 5 percent of the vote. But that translates into a victory of sorts for the party; it needed 50,000 votes in the gubernatorial race to keep its guaranteed spots on ballots. Hawkins easily met that threshold.
State Senate: 55th District
In the closely watched race for the 55th State Senate District, Republican Rich Funke appears to have unseated Democratic State Senator Ted O’Brien.
Funke pulled in more than 55 percent of the vote in Monroe County. Results aren’t in yet for the Ontario County towns in the district, but without winning the Monroe portions, an O’Brien victory is unlikely. (All results are unofficial at this time.)
A few issues could have influenced the race. One of them is the SAFE Act: O’Brien’s support for the gun control laws could have cost him votes in suburban and rural parts of the district while SAFE Act opponents likely coalesced behind Funke. But looking at the results of some other races, Republican turnout may simply have better.
The Funke-O’Brien race was contentious from the start, but the closer that Election Day got, the fiercer the campaigns became. There was a lot riding on the race; it was never just about who represents the district, but about whether Democrats or Republicans control the State Senate.
It likely won’t be clear for a few days, at least, which party will control the chamber come January.
In other election news: Voters in the Assembly’s 138th District re-elected Democrat Harry Bronson. He received 56 percent of the vote, while Republican Peterson Vazquez got 43.5 percent.
And in the 134th Assembly District, Republican Peter Lawrence beat Democrat Gary Pudup. The seat has been vacant since the start of the year. Republican Bill Reilich, who’d held the seat, resigned after he was elected Greece supervisor in November 2013. Lawrence got 68 percent of the vote to Pudup’s 32 percent total.
Democratic Assembly member David Gantt trounced his independent challenger, Ann Lewis. Gantt pulled in 78 percent of the vote.
Monroe County Legislature
In Legislature’s 29th District, Democrat Ernest Flagler unseated fellow Democrat Leslie Rivera. Flagler already beat Rivera in a Democratic primary back in September, but Rivera also had the Working Families Party and Independence Party lines.
Flagler received 73 percent of the vote, compared to Rivera’s 27 percent.
Earlier this year, Republican Dorothy Styk was appointed to the Legislature’s 18th District seat. Tonight, she beat Democratic challenger Erik Nixon to keep her seat.
Two other Republican legislators, Sean Delahanty and Brian Marianetti, faced no opponent, so they’ll also keep their seats.