The results of two undetermined State Senate and Assembly races are clear enough for Democrats to declare victory. Onondaga County is just about finished counting absentee ballots after a two-week delay. Assemblymember Al Stirpe will represent the 127th District for a seventh time after defeating the GOP’s Mark Venesky by more than 6,100 votes.
Based on its prominence this election, Stirpe thinks absentee voting is here to stay.
“More than anything what this has shown is that when you make it easy to vote by mail, a lot more people vote and hopefully that will continue because our democracy depends on it,” he said.
If unconditional absentee voting passes the legislature, it will advance to a public referendum vote next November.
In the 50th Senate District, Democrat John Mannion declared victory over Republican Angie Renna. He may be sworn before January because the seat has been vacant. Mannion says the lack of representation has hurt the 300,000 residents in the district.
“That is incredibly impactful in normal times, but it is even more impactful when we’re facing an economic crisis and we’re in the midst of a public health crisis,” he said.
Mannion flipped the seat to blue that was long held by Republicans John DeFrancisco and briefly by Bob Antonacci, who left mid-term after he was elected to a seat on the state Supreme Court. Mannion says he’ll leave his 28-year teaching career to focus solely on his new role. He and his fellow lawmakers face daunting fiscal challenges created by a pandemic that is only getting worse.
“That’s going to impact any legislation. I have certain areas that are important to me, that includes education, environment, healthcare and ethics which is really the reason I got into this,” Mannion said.
Stirpe says they’re going to be making a lot of hard decisions in an effort to provide decent education, healthcare, and other basic services.
“Revenue to state and local governments has taken a serious hit, in particular not-for-profits have been starved through this process. A lot of people depend on the services they provide just to exist.”
Stirpe fears there will be drastic cuts if federal relief doesn’t come soon.
While these state races are now appearing to be decided, other Central New York races are still up in the air. New Yorks 22nd congressional seat is still unclear, with recounts and legal challenges disputing results nearly a month after the election.