By Anne Hayden
GUILDERLAND — Six weeks after Election Day, in a tight and hotly-contested race for the State Senate, Republican George Amedore is declaring victory.
Democrat Cecelia Tkaczyk, however, will be appealing that decision, in hopes that the Appellate Division, the middle-level court in the state’s three-tiered system, will rule in her favor on outstanding objections by the Republican Party.
Both candidates declared victory on Nov. 8, and, according to the unofficial results from boards of election in the five counties in the 46th Senate District — Albany, Schenectady, Greene, Montgomery, and Ulster — Tkaczyk, who described herself as a mother, farmer, and school board leader, had a lead of 139 votes.
Amedore’s campaign filed a show cause order and objections were filed on both sides, leading to weeks of vote-counting by Montgomery County Supreme Court Justice Guy Tomlinson.
Tomlinson allowed an appeals process to go forward. Tomlinson did not open ballot envelopes at first, but judged them on their validity based on the application only. He then opened the ones he deemed valid and set aside the ones he ruled were invalid.
On Tuesday, Tomlinson declared Amedore — a home builder who represented the 105th District in the State Assembly — winner by a margin of 39 votes.
Gary Ginsburg, spokesman for Tkaczyk’s campaign, said they will take advantage of the appeals process and object to the judge’s decision.
“The initial round of rulings has been handed down, but there are still hundreds of votes to be counted at the next level,” Ginsburg told The Enterprise this week. “Any declaration of victory would be premature.”
“That’s not true, there are no more votes to count,” Thompson responded. “I don’t know why they keep saying that.” The Tkaczyk campaign can appeal Tomlinson’s decision, he said, but he maintained that any votes that had not yet been opened were invalid.
Amedore released a statement saying he wanted to thank the people of the 46th District for supporting his candidacy.
“It has been a lengthy campaign, but I am ready to end this political process and I stand committed to working in a bipartisan effort to meet the difficult challenges that face all New Yorkers,” Amedore said. He signed his statement, “Senator-elect, George Amedore.”
Ginsburg said he doesn’t believe that Amedore will remain the victor after the Tkaczyk campaign appeals.
“We don’t want minor errors and ministerial mistakes by boards of elections to deny people the right to vote,” he said of the decision to appeal. He called many of the original objections filed by the Republican side “frivolous.” The Republicans filed far many more objections — 660 to the Democrats’ 210.
Thompson said all the objections were procedural and had to do with signatures and confirming that voters who submitted absentee ballots actually had addresses in the proper county.
It was originally thought that the outcome of the race for the 46th Senate District would decide the Senate majority, but, after a coalition formed at the beginning of the month, between the Republicans and the Independent Democratic Conference, the coalition will rule either way. If Amedore is the ultimate winner, he will be the 31st Republican elected to the Senate.
“In just a few weeks, we will begin the process of addressing the concerns and needs of all New Yorkers to make this great state better and safer for our children and our families,” said Amedore in his statement. Thompson said he thinks the case will work through the Appellate Division fairly quickly and Amedore will join the Senate on the first of the year.
“We are hopeful that this process will move quickly,” said Ginsburg. “When all the votes are counted, Ceceilia will be certified the winner of this election.”