After consistently trailing in polls, Democrat Kristen Gillibrand survived a very contentious race to upset U.S. Rep. John Sweeney in the bid for the 20th Congressional District.
Minutes after Sweeney conceded, Gillibrand credited her success to Sweeney’s support of President Bush’s Iraq policy, high property taxes and gas costs.
Despite the partisan bickering that permeated the race, Gillibrand said her race was not about party-politics. This race was not about Democrats, not about Republicans, not about independents, it’s about leadership; it’s about the future of our country and who will lead it, she said to nearly 300 constituents assembled at the Gideon Putnam in Saratoga Springs.
Earlier, just down the street at the Saratoga Springs Holiday Inn, Sweeney apologized to his constituents, saying he was sorry he let them down. His statement drew shouts of `No. No.` from the audience.
Sweeney also addressed the vitriolic nature of the race, saying he neither wanted nor welcomed the tone of the campaign. Sweeney, who had come under fire days before the election for an alleged December 2005 domestic dispute, added that it was now Gillibrand’s time to `live in the glass house for a while.`
Gillibrand, 39, a lawyer from Greenport, confronted an enrollment disadvantage of 85,000 voters in the 20th District. While affidavits, absentee ballots and some precincts remain to be tallied, the latest numbers have Gillibrand with 105,284 votes, versus Sweeney’s 92,364.