Heavily-funded Steck defeats Velella to retain Assembly seat

The Enterprise — Michael Koff

Assemblyman Phillip G. Steck speaks to local Democrats gathered at the Italian-American Community Center in Albany on Election Night. Steck said he was inspired by Franklin Delano Roosevelt. “His policies built the middle class in America and that’s what I’ve always tried to stand for,” said Steck as Jacob Crawford, the county’s Democratic committee chairman, listens in the background.

ALBANY — Phillip G. Steck has turned back a challenge from Republican Alexandra M. Velella to retain his seat in the newly-redrawn 110th Assembly District, according to unofficial results from the state Board of Elections.

With Albany and Schenectady County Election Districts reporting, Steck bested Velella 30,632 to 23,273, or 55.49 percent to 42.16 percent. Some mail-in ballots have yet to be counted.

Neither campaign immediately responded to a request for comment on Election Night.

Steck typically cruises to victory every two years, with his closest election being an eight-point win in 2014 — in his three elections since 2014 and prior to this year, he beat each of his opponents by at least 20 points. 

In those previous blowout races, he was running in his old 110th Assembly District where he was a known quantity for the past 10 years. The new 110th now contains 10 Guilderland Election Districts, with approximately 3,600 active  Democrats and about 2,500 active Republicans and Conservatives, and is bounded by the town of Rotterdam to the north, Willow Street and the Albany Pine Preserve to the south, Colonie to the east, and Route 20 to the west. 

There are just under 91,000 active registered voters in the 110th Assembly District, according to the state Board of Elections; about three-quarters of voters reside in Albany County with the rest of the electorate residing in Schenectady County. 

As of Nov. 1, there were nearly 40,000 enrolled Democrats and members of the Working Families Party in the 110th District, compared to approximately 25,000 registered Republicans and Conservatives, according to the state Board of Elections.

Velella worried Steck with her run, as the Democratic Assembly Campaign Committee invested heavily in Steck in the final days of his campaign, with an $85,000 contribution on Oct. 14 and another $115,000 just 10 days later, according to filings with the state Board of Elections. 

That put Steck’s fundraising haul since he last ran in 2020 at nearly $275,000, over half of which came in the form of thousand-dollar-or-more donations, overwhelmingly from organized labor, according to filings with the state’s Board of Elections.

Velella has raised about $32,ooo since narrowly losing a seat on the Colonie Town Board last November; a single $12,000 contribution accounted for over a third of her fund-raising total, according to Board of Elections filings. 

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