While Genesee County was certainly bleeding red Tuesday, it apparently wasn’t enough to get the job done for the big-ticket candidates during the general election.
Although the Associated Press and political pundits weren’t ready to call the race for state governor by midnight, Democrat incumbent Kathy Hochul was proclaimed the winner an hour later with a vote of 2,869,712 (52.9 percent) to Republican Lee Zeldin’s 2,52,639 (47.1 percent) as the early morning hours wore on.
Locally, though, Republicans pushed Zeldin up by a vote of 12,800 (plus 2,349 for the Conservative line) to 5,534 for Hochul (plus 423 on the Working Families line).
Republicans also outweighed the Democrat vote for state comptroller, with Paul Rodriguez ahead with 11,580, plus 2,233, versus Thomas DiNapoli’s totals of 6,146 plus 739. DiNapoli was declared the victor with 3,117,435 votes and 56.6. percent versus Rodriguez's 2,385,818 and 43.4 percent of the votes.
Once again, the red charged in for the U.S. senator position, giving challenger Joe Pinion 11,833, plus 2,261 votes to nearly half that for incumbent Charles Schumer, with 6,059 and 622 votes. The AP did call this race earlier nationally, with a total of 2,953,686 (56 percent) for Schumer and 2,264,936 (43 percent) for Pinion. Third candidate Diane Sare captured 1 percent of the vote with 52,717.
The only contested local race of Darien Town Justice gave the seat to David Overhoff with 1,085 votes to Michelle Krzemien’s 279. Genesee County Democratic Chairman Michael Plitt didn’t feel this race was contested, as Krzemien did not run a campaign, he said.
Plitt was glad and confident — even two hours before it was officially called — that Hochul would retain her governor’s seat.
“I think she's been a great friend to Genesee County. That is definitely a bright spot,” he said. “I also want to thank the poll workers for putting in, you know, a hard day's work; they do a great job, Democratic and Republican poll workers in Genesee County.”
He also gave a nod of appreciation to Daniel Brown and Steve Holden for being part of the Democrats' candidate pool in their races for state Senate and U.S. Congress, respectively.
A local proposition for Alexander voters about whether to keep the transfer station or not was approved. Should the Town of Alexander continue to operate the Town Transfer Station? Yes, by a vote of 820 to 188 no votes.
Although Genesee County voters vetoed the Clean Water, Clean Air, and Green Jobs Environmental Bond Act of 2022 by a vote of 11,407 to 8,706, that statewide climate change act passed by more than 70 percent of the voters, or 2,351,738, to 987,830 no votes.
Republicans’ power did shine through on a few races, including that of state Assemblyman Steve Hawley, with local votes of 13,753 and 2,513 to 4,455 for challenger Jennifer Keys; 12,443 and 2,291 for state senator candidate George Borrello versus 5,408 for Democrat Daniel Brown; and 12,492 and 2,318 for Claudia Tenney versus 5,623 for Steve Holden for the Congress seat.
Hawley, who received 77 percent of the vote statewide, was happy with the amount of voters out there, gave credit where it was due and expressed his dismay with the current governor’s focus while campaigning and in office.
“I’m always very, very pleased when people exercise their right to vote, that have input into who their elected representatives could be, whether in local races, or in state races or nationally,” Hawley said as Vice Chairman of the Genesee County Republican Committee at election headquarters at Terry Hills in Batavia. “It was a high turnout across the state of New York, and I think that bodes well for our republic and this nation, and dictates the direction of where our republic wants to go.
“I think that, frankly, I work with folks all over the state of New York, and downstate the number one issue is crime and public safety, and upstate, which is everything north and west of Westchester County, inflation is number one, and crime is number two. I think Mrs. Hochul, who represented this area, is from this area, really has gotten the wrong direction from the folks who live in New York City. From my point of view, she’s literally turned her back on her hometown folks, and I’m not quite sure that folks that are elected to office ought to be doing that.”
He realized at that point in time that it was still too early to tell for certain who won the governor’s race, he said, but he believes that “we need to see a dramatic and drastic change from the direction that we’ve been seeing out of Albany.”
As for his own campaign, Hawley has no specific strategy other than walking the walk every day, he said.
“I try never to concentrate on a particular race every two years, I try to represent people 365 every single year I’m in office. So I don’t do anything differently in an election year than in a nonelection year,” he said. “I try to concentrate on the things that are important: inflation, the high cost of living, the erosion of the retirement living that folks thought that they’d have, we all know about gas, we all know about groceries, we’ll soon know about home heating, it’s soon to go through the roof.”
Being a family-oriented community here, with family values, he also believes that it’s important to adhere to the Second Amendment and that elected officials respond to the needs of their constituents. A cashless bail system is also leading to higher crime rates, he said.
Taking care of people “from cradle to grave” comes at a price — this state’s hefty budget, he said — and the cost is getting too steep.
“We need to get back on track,” Hawley said.
Shortly before midnight, Congresswoman Claudia Tenney released a statement about her win Tuesday night. Her camp was touting a lead of 38,000 votes, or 27 percent more than her opponent.
“I sincerely thank the voters of New York’s 24th Congressional District who have put their faith and trust in me,” Tenney said in the written statement. “I also thank my opponent for running a spirited race. I am so honored that our campaign was a grassroots movement driven by volunteers from across the 24th District. Republicans, Democrats, and Independents from the North Country and Central New York to the Finger Lakes and Western New York all came together to change the direction of (this) country and restore principled leadership to Washington.
“I will not let them down as I continue my fight to support our small businesses, family farms, and seniors,” she said. “I will always be a tenacious and compassionate advocate for our region in Congress.”
Election results are considered unofficial until all votes, including absentee ballots, are tallied.
Photos of State Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,C), as he awaits results at Republican headquarters Tuesday evening at Terry Hills in Batavia. Photos by Howard Owens.