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Tuesday night wasn’t just a big night for Barack Obama; his party won big on the local level as well

by Erin Pihlaja on November 8, 2012

After months of enduring increasingly negative campaign ads, stump speeches, and the repetitive talking points of pundits everywhere, the 2012 elections are pretty much over. Here’s how things shaped up in the Capital Region:

Democratic U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand won her quest for her first full six-year term by defeating Republican challenger Wendy Long. This was the second time Gillibrand faced voters in two years after she replaced Hillary Clinton in 2009, and fought for the right to finish out the last two years of Clinton’s term in 2010.

In the 43rd Senate District, Republican Kathy Marchione finished ahead of Democrat Robin Andrews and Republican Sen. Roy McDonald, who finished third on the Independent line. Though McDonald’s name appeared on the ballot, he did not actively campaign after he lost a close race in the primary to Marchione. The two-term incumbent’s loss was attributed to his vote for the Marriage Equality Act in 2011. Out of the four Republican senators who voted for the legislation, only Sen. Mark Grisanti, of Buffalo, was reelected. Sen. James Alesi, of Monroe County, chose not to seek reelection, and Sen. Stephen Saland, of Poughkeepsie, will wait for absentee votes to be counted to determine his fate in a race where he is currently behind.

In the 46th Senate District, newly created by Senate-led Republicans, Democrat Cecilia Tkaczyk maintained a very narrow lead over Republican George Amedore as of Wednesday morning. There are approximately 4,000 absentee ballots that need to be counted before a winner is confirmed, and a recount is expected.

Republican incumbent Chris Gibson kept his seat in the 19th Congressional District. Democratic challenger Julian Schreibman gained steadily as election day approached, but could not overtake Gibson.

Democrat Phil Steck trounced Republican Jennifer Whalen in the 110th Assembly District race. Steck will fill the seat of retiring Assemblyman Bob Reilly.

Former spokesman for the Albany Police Department, Democrat James Miller, lost to Republican incumbent Peter Lopez in the race for the 102nd Assembly District seat. The new district includes all of Greene and Schoharie Counties, and parts of Albany, Otsego, Delaware, Ulster and Columbia Counties.

After winning a six-way Democratic primary, Patricia Fahy has won the 109th Assembly District seat left open after 10-term incumbent Assemblyman Jack McEneny retired. Fahy defeated Republican Ted Danz and Joseph Sullivan, who ran on the Conservative Party line.

It was a landslide victory for Democratic incumbent Neil Breslin, against Peter LaVenia Jr., the Green Party candidate, in the race for the 44th State Senate seat. Breslin was heavily endorsed and favored to win.

There weren’t any surprises in the 20th Congressional District either. Democratic incumbent Paul Tonko took more than 70 percent of the vote in his race against Republican challenger Bob Dietrich.

Carolyn McLaughlin couldn’t gain momentum during her run on the Working Families line in the 108th Assembly District race against Democrat John T. McDonald III, mayor of Cohoes. The primary race between the two was tight, but on Nov. 6, McDonald easily defeated her.

Voters in Albany were asked to vote on two proposals having to do with the Albany City School District. The first proposal asked for approval to purchase 50 North Lark St., formerly the New Covenant Charter School, for no more that $2.5 million plus closing costs. The second asked that the district be allowed to sell 215 Northern Blvd., once known as the Phillip Livingston Magnet Academy, for no less than $2.5 million. Voters said “yes” to both proposals.

Both Democrats and Republicans announced that they had won control of the New York State Senate. It will likely be determined by three races. If Democrat Ted O’Brien keeps his narrow lead over Republican Sean Hanna for the seat formerly held by Republican Sen. Jim Alesi in Rochester, and if Saland loses his Republican seat in the 41st District, the chamber would be at 31-31. If the newly created 46th seat goes to Tkaczyk, the Democrats will take control. Expect both sides to come out fighting.

–Erin Pihlaja