Some old rivals are facing off for New York’s newest state Senate district — again. A bitter quest for public office that grabbed headlines two years ago has been renewed.
Two years ago, Republican George Amedore faced off against Democrat Cecilia Tkaczyk in a race for the new 46th Senate seat, added during the once-a-decade redistricting process. Many observers saw the Senate district as drawn specifically for Amedore, and on election night, Amedore even gave an acceptance speech at a GOP shindig.
But dairy farmer Tkaczyk would ultimately beat the then-Assemblyman by just 18 votes in a race that got hung up in the courts. Months passed before a winner was ultimately declared.
NYPIRG's legislative director Blair Horner: "In the last election, then-Assemblyman George Amedore ran as basically an incumbent as much of the district was his assembly district, people viewed him as the likely person to win. Now, Senator Tkaczyk turned out to be a much more formidable campaigner than the Republicans realized."
Amedore announced he's up for a rematch Monday at Village Pizza II on Main Street in Catskill, which burnt down a year ago. "We have a Senator who is for the last year and a half, not representing the people of this district. She does not represent our interests or share our values. We haven't had that in the Senate for quite some time. She's been more of a voice for special interests of New York City and liberal causes that are out of touch with the people that live in this district. People are listening, people are watching, people are fed up and they're discouraged. I'm going to work hard. I'm going to listen to the people. We worked hard last time, we're gonna work even harder this time, and we're gonna win."
Observers chalked the 2012 Tkaczyk win up to a well-funded campaign and presidential election-year turnout, as Democrats turned out in force to support President Obama at the top of the ticket. "As the race tightened up, there was independent expenditure money that came in from Jonathan Soros' group, which really helped push Tkaczyk. The argument at the time, was that New York State needed a system of public financing to take big money out of politics, the irony is not lost on anyone I'm sure. Tkaczyk was a supporter of making it easier for grassroots candidates to run for office and not be beholden to the wealthy, so in that case Soros weighs in on her behalf, and that helped tip the balance."
Democrats immediately set their anti-Amedore agenda into motion, issuing a press release featuring more than a dozen politicians blasting Amedore, but the Tkaczyk camp remained unusually quiet. Eventually, a statement attributed to Senator Tkaczyk was released via email, saying: "At the moment I am focused only on the work of the Legislative Session ahead of us. There will be a time for campaigning, but right now my only concerns are helping our rural and small city schools, providing tax relief for middle-class families and businesses, and helping our small businesses to grow and create jobs."
The 46th Senate District encompasses all or parts of Albany, Schenectady, Montgomery, Greene and Ulster Counties