Democrat incumbent Congresswoman Kirsten Gillibrand defeated her challenger, Alexander Sandy Treadwell, on Tuesday for control of the 20th Congressional District by a comfortable margin.
With 99 percent of districts reporting, Gillibrand captured 62 percent of the vote with more than 175,000 votes cast. Treadwell trailed with fewer than 109,000 votes.
`This election was not about Democrat or Republican, it was about the American people,` said Gillibrand to supporters gathered at the Gideon Putnam Hotel in Saratoga Springs on election night. `This whole campaign has been about giving a voice to everyday working Americans.`
Gillibrand secured this sizable win despite the fact her opponent’s campaign outspent her by an equally comfortable gap. Money has been the most talked about element in the race for the 20th Congressional District, as it was the most expensive race for the House of Representatives this election cycle.
More than $9.2 million was spent by the two candidates as of Oct. 15, according to the Federal Election Commission. Treadwell dropped nearly $5.6 million, while Gillibrand spent over $3.6 million. Combined, the two campaigns built war chests nearly $11.4 million strong.
The 20th Congressional District contains all or parts of 10 counties, holding 477,682 registered voters. Republicans outnumber Democrats, about 196,000 to 125,000. That leaves around 156,000 unaffiliated or third-party voters.
Sandy Treadwell released a written statement after conceding.
`In our great American tradition, it’s time for all of us to come together, put partisan politics behind us and move forward in addressing the critical issues we face,` said Treadwell. `I hope that the next Congress and our new president will fight for lower taxes, more jobs, and a comprehensive energy plan ` which are all things this country desperately needs.`
He added, `As I have stressed throughout this campaign, it is essential that the Republican Party return to its core values of smaller government and greater fiscal discipline.`
At Gillibrand headquarters, a festival-like atmosphere was pervasive early on as states rolled in for Presidential candidate Barack Obama. Gillibrand was able to stand before the crowd to claim victory just 80 minutes after the polls closed.
Gillibrand praised the efforts of her campaign workers, saying, `We’ve done an amount of outreach that is unprecedented in this district. We touched every voter in this district over the past several months.`
She said the biggest challenge facing the new Congress will be to address the economy, and she briefly outlined her plans to stimulate job creation by investing in three key areas: infrastructure, energy independence and the development of an alternative energy economy.
`You can create those jobs right here in upstate New York, and that is our future,` said Gillibrand. “