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Coverage from WRVO Public Media on the 2015 election including: races in Syracuse and other parts of central New York, the Southern Tier, Watertown and the North Country, and more.Listen to WRVO online, or catch up on regional political news and more by following the WRVO news department on Twitter.

Republican Fred Akshar wins Southern Tier special election for State Senate

Charles Compton
Broome County Undersheriff Fred Akshar (R) won a special election to fill a Southern Tier State Senate seat, defeating Democrat Barbara Fiala.

In a special election Tuesday, the GOP in New York’s Southern Tier maintained its fifty year hold on the 52nd Senate District. 

Broome County Undersheriff Fred Akshar took over three-quarters of the vote and easily defeated Democrat Barbara Fiala. Akshar succeeded by labeling Fiala as an Albany insider.  She had served in the Cuomo Administration as commissioner of the Department of Motor Vehicles.

“You’ve chosen a new direction. New ideas. You said enough of the negative, partisan politics of the past.  You said it’s time to change Albany,” said Akshar.

Since this was a special election, Akshar must run again in next year’s regular election. In his victory speech, the Republican promised to give voters the change they desire.

Akshar replaces former State Senator Tom Libous. The high-ranking Republican was forced from office in July when he was convicted of lying to the FBI.

“I want to make one more pledge to each of you, that as I work with your continued support to change Albany and to make the Southern Tier great again, I will never let Albany change me,” said Akshar.

Down the street in Binghamton, at the Double Tree Hotel where Democrats held their party, Fiala blamed her defeat on big money. She says her Republican opponent had more than five times the money she did.

“He had a machine gun and I had a sling shot,” said Fiala.

Despite the loss, Fiala says she was pleased with her campaign. She says she fought the good fight and didn’t rule out the possibility of getting in the ring again.