With a man as polarizing as Trump in the White House, even before 2020 we knew it was going to be an election like no other. Throw a global pandemic and a degree of civil discontent not seen in decades into the mix and we have, well, an Election Day(s) like no other … on steroids.
As President-elect Joe Biden begins establishing a transition team, and Trump wages at best longshot legal battles in a handful of states to try and hang onto the White House, a divided nation can at least be satisfied with the fact the largest percentage of people voted in this election than since 1908.
According to the Washington Post, the projected turnout after the unprecedented number of mail in ballots are counted is around 66.3 percent. The previous record of 65.7 percent was set in 1908 when Republican William Taft defeated Democrat William Bryan.
Voters in this state stood in line for hours on Oct. 24, the first day of early voting, a sight never before seen and in New York even, one of the bluest of blue states in the nation that has not voted Republican since it went for Ronald Reagan in 1984. The number of voters who went to the polls early broke all records as did the absentee ballots that were allowed this year without having to provide an excuse to make it to the polls. All told, it appears New York could come in at about 65 percent turnout depending on how many mailed ballots did make it before the Nov. 10 deadline.
In Albany County, there were about 20,000 less votes cast at the polling places than in 2016, 141,313 to 121,956. But, there were at least 25,000 mail in ballots that officials were still counting. The final tally will be released in the coming weeks, but in 2016 former Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton had a loyal base of followers and in addition to rabid detractors, she did energize a segment of the electorate with a solid record and platform. Biden, on the other hand, ran a campaign on one fundamental tenet: he wasn’t Trump. He gave Trump enough rope to hang himself and Trump took full advantage.
The fact Trump was close took many by surprise, especially the pollsters, most of which had him losing every key battleground state by at least the margins of error. A global pandemic, an uncertain economy and Trump acting like himself instead of a President of the U.S.A. for four years was just too much to overcome.
Locally, there were not any surprises.
Despite a spirited and well-funded campaign by Republican Liz Joy, incumbent U.S. Rep. Paul Tonko, D-Amsterdam, was elected to a seventh term in the 20th Congressional District with 56 percent of the vote, unofficially. With 99 percent of the districts reporting, Tonko had 164,664 and Joy had 127,394, according to a number of reports.
The 20th Congressional District includes all or portions of Albany, Rensselaer, Schenectady, Saratoga and Montgomery counties.
Two other Congressional incumbents also won contested races.
In one of the most contentious elections, Republican U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik handily won an fourth term over Democrat challenger Tedra Cobb for the second consecutive election cycle.
With all districts reporting, Stefanik won by an overwhelming majority, 167,935 to 92,596, or 64 to 35 percent, in a race that featured Stefanik’s support of President Donald Trump.
The 21st Congressional District is a huge chunk of the North Country that runs from Saratoga County to the Canadian border and from the Vermont border west to Watertown.
The race for the 22nd Congressional District is still to close but Democrat incumbent Antonio Delgado has a lead in his bid for a second term against challenger Republican Kyle Van De Water.
Unofficially, Delgado had a 51 to 47 percent lead, 131,634 to 120,096 by the machine count. The race has not yet been called pending a count of absentee ballots.
The 22nd District runs from Albany south to Poughkeepsie and from the Massachusetts border west to nearly Binghamton.
Statewide, incumbents across the board coasted to victory.
Assemblyman Phil Steck, a Democrat, easily defeated Republican Dave Feiden in the 110th District. Steck, seeking his fifth term, won by a 58.4 to 41.6 percent margin, or 32,774 to 20,777. The district includes Colonie and portions of Schenectady County.
In the 109th Assembly District, incumbent Democrat Pat Fahy beat Republican challenger Robert Porter 66.6 to 33.4 percent, or 35,423 to 17,746, for a fifth term in Albany.
The district includes the Albany County towns of Bethlehem, Guilderland and New Scotland and the City of Albany.
In the open 46th Senate District, Republican Richard Amedure defeated Democrat Michelle Hinchey by an unofficial count of 52.8 to 46.4 percent, or 66,784 to 58,613.
It became an open seat with incumbent George Amdore’s decision to not seek another term. The district stretches from Poughkeepsie to Montgomery County and includes Guilderland, Altamont and the hill towns of Albany County.
Sen. Neil Breslin, a Democrat, coated to victory for the seat he has held since 1996 over Democrat challenger David Yule 69.5 to 30.5 percent, or 68,629 to 30,101.
The district includes the Albany County towns of Delmar and Colonie and the Rensselaer County cities of Troy and Rensselaer.
— Jim Franco