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GOP in central NY encouraged by election results, Democrats say they have work to do

Angi for State Senate
From left to right, Sam Rodgers, Angi Renna, NYSGOP Chair Nick Langworthy, Mark Venesky, Benedicte Doran.

Republicans did better than expected in central New York on Election Day, holding on to their congressional and state senate seat, for now, and making gains elsewhere. There are still 57,000 absentee ballots that need to be counted in Onondaga County, and Democrats have a 2-to-1 advantage.

Onondaga County Republican Chairwoman Benedicte Doran is very pleased. Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus) is in a comfortable lead. Republican Angi Renna is up 5,000 votes over Democrat John Mannion in the 50th State Senate District, although 36,000 absentee ballots remain. Doran thinks Renna will pull off the win.

“She ran a great race, she’s smart, she worked super hard,” Doran said. “I don’t think anyone should make any conclusion what’s going to be contained in those absentee ballots until we count them.”

Doran said she’s positive voters are splitting their tickets. She said polling data shows 14% of Joe Biden voters were voting for Katko. Moving forward, Dorin said Republicans should focus on taking back control of the state Senate.

Onondaga County Democratic Chairwoman Pamela Hunter said the results so far have been challenging. Most races, she said, are too close to call. She thinks Democrats will hold onto state Sen. Rachel May’s seat. May has a lead of only 136 votes over Republican challenger Sam Rodgers. But there are still between 20,000-25,000 absentee ballots. Hunter is confident Assemblyman Al Stirpe will win as well. He is currently losing to Republican Mark Venesky by a thousand votes, but there are 19,000 absentee ballots.

Hunter said Democrats have become too complacent assuming everyone in their party will fall in line and they need to do a better job taking the pulse of the community.

“That canned, cookie-cutter-voter-strategy approach that comes from the DCCC and those big organizations that try to manage campaigns; you have to live and breathe in the neighborhood to understand what the neighborhood needs,” Hunter said. “Outside entities don’t necessarily get that.”

Tom Magnarelli is a reporter covering the central New York and Syracuse area. He joined WRVO as a freelance reporter in 2012 while a student at Syracuse University and was hired full time in 2015. He has reported extensively on politics, education, arts and culture and other issues around central New York.