Temporary new leader in state Senate race
Democrat Cecilia Tkaczyk isn't going to have long to enjoy her new-found lead in the 46th Senate District.
Around 11 p.m. on Monday night, she had built a 10-vote lead over Republican Assemblyman George Amedore. The race is now being decided by almost 12,000 absentee and affidavit ballots. Tkaczyk was able to take the lead by out-performing Amedore in Albany County, which she was leading 864 votes to 800 votes with a few election districts left in Guilderland.
UPDATE, 12:20 a.m. Tuesday: Tkaczyk netted almost 90 votes in Albany County and is up a little more than 30 votes in the entire district.
Prior to the start of counting paper ballots, Amedore had built a 54-vote lead.
The performance in paper ballots in Albany County didn't quite live up to Tkaczyk's Election Day performance in the county, where she won about 54 percent of the vote. Tkaczyk ended up winning about 52 percent of the paper ballots. This is not a good sign, considering it seems to give weight to the idea that her late momentum in the race means she will underperform in absentee ballots, which can be cast weeks before Election Day.
For instance, Tkaczyk didn't receive a big influx of outside advertising until late in October. This helped her on Election Day, but people who cast ballots before late October weren't impacted.
Take Schenectady County, where about 40 percent of the paper ballots came in on Oct. 27 or later; 60 percent of the absentee voters never saw those ads.
I previously did a rough prediction of the race, which was based on paper ballots reflecting the Election Day turnout and few paper ballots being tossed out. Based on that projection, Tkaczyk would win.
That prediction can be tossed out now.
Additionally, it seems the edge Amedore has with Conservative Democrats appears to be playing out. For instance, in the town of New Scotland there was a plurality of paper ballots from Democratic voters, but Amedore emerged victoriously (barely). If this trend continues, it is bad news for Tkaczyk.
So even though Amedore is down, it is good news for him heading into Greene, Montgomery and Schenectady counties. The Greene County count starts Tuesday and Montgomery County is the next day. Schenectady County kicks off next week.
He cruised to victory in the first two and easily won the last on Election Day. This is likely going to play out again in the paper ballots, which could result in him getting a lead and growing it to more than 1,000 votes.
A more reasonable expectation, though, would be Amedore up by about 700 votes heading into Ulster County.
Ulster County is a wildcard in this process considering all the paper ballots that might be counted there. It is possible that over 4,000 absentee and affidavit ballots will be counted there. Unfortunately for Tkaczyk, that assumes more than 1,000 affidavit ballots are counted, which isn't likely. If today's count can be any sort of reasonable barometer, I would guess that about 3,600 paper ballots will be counted in Ulster County.
If you assume that Tkaczyk wins about 61 percent of the paper ballots in Ulster County, which is what she did on Election Day, she would gain almost 2,200 votes. That would mean Amedore gains about 1,400 votes. That scenario suggests Tkaczyk still has a path to victory.
But based on the fact she didn't hit her Election Day percentage in Albany County with paper ballots, let's assume a comparable drop in Ulster County paper ballots. That would mean Tkaczyk could only surmount about a 400-vote lead with the help of Ulster County.
Oh yeah, and ballots are being cast aside, so we'll have that to deal with next week if the race is still close.