Rematch in 46th: Amedore challenges Tkaczyk

Enterprise file photo — Michael Koff

George Amedore, who declared his victory as 46th District Senate representative on Election Night in 2012, but later learned Cecilia Tkaczyk was the ultimate winner, announced this week that he will run for the seat in 2014.

Enterprise file photo — Michael Koff

Cecilia Tkaczyk, Senate representative for the 46th District, speaks at an event in Guilderland during her first year as a legislator. Tkaczyk narrowly defeated George Amedore in the fall 2012 election, and Amedore announced this week he will challenge her again in the fall 2014 election.

Ballot battle in 2012

The 2012 race for the 46th District Senate seat involved both parties announcing victory on Election Night.

Soon after, it was determined too close to call, and ballots were counted by Supreme Court Justice Guy Tomlinson, who declared George Amedore the winner over Cecilia Tkaczyk.

Tkaczyk appealed Tomlinson’s decision, and the case went to the Appellate Division, which decided that 99 ballots that had been declared invalid by the Supreme Court should be opened; Amedore appealed that, sending the case up to the state’s Court of Appeals.

The Court of Appeals denied the motion for leave to appeal, and sent the case back to the Appellate Division, which then declared Tkaczyk the winner.

Anne Hayden Harwood

Republican George Amedore, who lost a close and contentious race to represent the 46th District — a district drawn up by a Republican-majority Senate — announced Monday he will run again.

It wasn’t until three months after the November 2012 elections that Democrat Cecilia Tkaczyk, a sheep farmer and Duanesburg School Board member making her first state run, was declared the winner — by just 18 votes. Enormous funds had been spent on both sides as the Senate’s party in power hung in the balance.

Asked this week why the Republicans are backing Amedore, a wealthy Rotterdam developer who had served a term in the State Assembly, Edward Cox, the state’s GOP chairman, said, “The State Senate needs more members like George, who will represent the interests of Upstate New York instead of serving as a rubber stamp for the New York City liberals who dominate the Democratic conference.”

Amedore announced his run at a press conference in Catskill — the 46th District stretches over five counties: Albany, Schenectady, Montgomery, Greene, and Ulster.

He declined to comment beyond the statements at his press conference.

“For the last two years, we have not had someone in this Senate district who represents our interests or shares our values in fighting for the things that matter most,” Amedore said in making Monday’s announcement.

Tkaczyk, however, told The Enterprise this week she was proud of her accomplishments during her first year in office, including having two pieces of legislation that she authored included in the Assembly and Senate’s budget resolutions, one to reform the way early intervention services for struggling students are provided and paid for, and another to rewrite and expand the Community Mental Health Reinvestment Act.

“This is a rare achievement, especially for a freshman legislator,” said Tkaczyk.

She also introduced measures to help small farms and businesses, including expansion of broadband Internet to rural parts of the state, and was named to the New York State Farm Bureau’s “Circle of Friends.”

She was a vocal opponent of budget cuts that would have affected services for people with developmental disabilities, was active with flood recovery efforts in Fort Plain, and was named Legislative Freshman Leader of the Year by the state’s School Boards Association.

Tkaczyk said her priorities for the coming year include pushing for state aid for rural school districts.

“State aid to education is so important, because, if it is insufficient, it forces school districts to rely more heavily on property taxes for their budget,” she said. “So, there can never really be true property-tax relief without sufficient school aid from the state.”

She said she plans to continue to help improve the business climate and help small businesses grow to create new jobs.

“Small businesses are the backbone of our economy,” said Tkaczyk.

She also wants to work toward making the state government more open and transparent.

“Our disclosure and ethics laws are ridiculously weak,” she said. “We need to make sure that legislators are working for their constituents and not for the corporate lobbyists.”

Amedore said at his press conference that he would “not be a voice for the special interests of New York City and liberal causes that are out of touch with the people I represent.”

He said his top priorities would be protecting taxpayers, promoting economic growth, and excellence in education.

“I will not have my vote taken for granted in support of policies and programs that do more harm than good,” said Amedore at the conference. “We have had two long years of that kind of representation in the Senate, and in November we will have an opportunity to change all that.”

Tkaczyk said that, when the time comes, she will run on her record.

“At the moment, I am focused only on the legislative session ahead of us,” she said.

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