Hinchey declared victor in 46th District

Enterprise file photo — Michael Koff

After every mail-in ballot was counted, the final tally was 77,272 to 74,647 in favor of Hinchey.

MONTGOMERY COUNTY — Days after she did so herself, a judge in Montgomery County on Wednesday declared victory for Democrat Michelle Hinchey.

Hinchey will replace Republican George Amedore, who did not seek re-election, in representing District 46 in the State Senate, having bested GOP-backed Richard Amedure by 2,625 votes.

Justice Rebecca A. Slezak on Nov. 8 had signed off on a process by which tens-of-thousands of absentee ballots that ultimately determined the outcome of the election, after Amedure filed a lawsuit on Nov. 2, asking that those votes be impounded and his preferred vote-counting method be instituted.

On Nov. 4, Hinchey filed her own petition, seeking to ensure that every ballot that had yet to be tallied on Election Day, Nov. 3, was counted. Hinchey declared her own victory in a Nov. 20 press release. 

In a virtual hearing held on Wednesday afternoon, Slezak heard the final tally from each of the local boards of election that make up that 46th state Senate District: Albany, Greene, Montgomery, Schenectady, and Ulster.

And with every early, in-person, and mail-in ballot counted, Hinchey bested Republican Richard Amedure, 77,272 to 74,647 — a markedly different outcome from Nov. 3, when only early and in-person votes had counted, and Amedure held a 6.26-point lead over Hinchey, 51.19 percent to 44.93 percent, or 66,784 votes to 58,613.

Hinchey, like a number of Democrats statewide, is being sent to office via first-class mail, having won this election on the strength of mail-in balloting and to her vote-rich home county, Ulster. 

Amedure, a retired State Trooper who is enrolled as a Conservative, lives in Rensselaerville in Albany County. Both candidates were making their first run for office. Hinchey, the daughter of the late Maurice Hinchey, longtime member of the House of Representatives, had worked in communications for a decade.

Democrats are claiming to have won 42 of the state Senate’s 63 seats on Nov.3, which is enough for a supermajority.

 

Vote counts

In Ulster County, Hinchey received 32,690 votes to Amedure’s 17,947; on Nov. 3, Hinchey’s had 24,786 votes to Amedure’s 15,947.

In Albany County, Hinchey received 18,527 votes to Amedure’s 16,956; on Election Day, Hinchey received 14,173 votes and Amedure received 15,190. 

In Greene County, 9,499 ballots were cast for Hinchey while 14,746 were cast for Amedure; on Nov. 3, Hinchey received 7,141 votes to Amedure’s 13,108.

In Montgomery County, Hinchey received 7,377 votes to 12,537 for Amedure; on Election Day, 5,499 ballots were cast for Hinchey and 11,260 for Amedure. 

In Schenectady County, the vote went 9,179 for Hinchey and 12,461 for Amedure; on Nov. 3, Hinchey received 7,014 votes to Amedure’s 11,279

New York State Election Law says that local boards of elections can begin to count absentee ballots three days after Election Day, Nov. 6, and had until Nov. 10 to receive those ballots as long as they were postmarked by Nov. 3. 

But Slezak’s Nov. 8 decision ordered that the ballot-canvass process start in Albany County on Nov. 18, in Greene County on Nov. 12, in Montgomery County on Nov. 12 at noon, in Schenectady County on Nov. 12 at noon, and in Ulster County on Nov. 18 at noon.

The 140-mile-long 46th District encompasses all of Greene and Montgomery counties, and parts of Albany, Schenectady, and Ulster counties. In Albany County, the district includes all or parts of Guilderland, New Scotland, Coeymans, and the Hilltowns of Berne, Knox, Rensselaerville, and Westerlo.

 

Enrollment

Since the district was created eight years ago, its enrollment has swung away from Republican toward Democratic enrollment. 

As of this month, according to the New York State Board of Elections, there were 202,022 active enrolled voters (but 218,347 total voters) in the 46th District: 73,556 Democrats — an increase of over 11,000 since the district was created; 54,901 Republicans — barely 700 more GOP members than 2012; 54,683 active enrolled voters without a party affiliation.

However, in the last competitive election, in 2018, Republican George Amedore, who declined to seek re-election, easily beat Democrat Pat Strong, 68,259 to 54,116.

 

Campaign finances

Hinchey’s campaign also outspent Amedure’s by nearly five times.

For all of 2020, Hinchey raised approximately $811,000 in individual contributions. The New York State Senate Democratic Campaign Committee appears to have allocated $162,953 toward Hinchey’s run; in addition, the same committee transferred $250,000 to her campaign, while she transferred $57,336.45 back to the committee. 

New Yorkers Together, a super PAC financed by the Communication Workers of America, spent $131,995 supporting Hinchey — $57,350 on radio ads supporting her, and $60,339 on direct-mail fliers attacking Amedure.

Amedure took in about $173,000 in individual contributions.

While the New York State Senate Republican Campaign Committee appears to have allocated or transferred $62,344 to Amedure’s campaign.

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