On Monday evening, Democratic state Senate candidate Elijah Reichlin-Melnick felt like he was in a good position. He likely had enough absentee votes in hand to declare victory in a Hudson Valley State Senate seat.
“As I have said since Election Day, I’m incredibly confident that once all of the votes are counted, I will finish in first place,” said Reichlin-Melnick in a statement. “After seeing today’s preliminary results, I am now even more confident that we will soon be able to declare victory.”
Less than a day later, Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins declared victory for the Democrat in the race.
Reichlin-Melnick, who is due to replace outgoing Sen. David Carlucci, could be part of a new class of Democrats in the state Senate from upstate cities, Long Island suburbs, and parts of the Hudson Valley that have flipped from red to blue.
Democrats were trailing in the hours after polls closed on Election Day. But a robust mail-in ballot program and early voting push have helped the conference in the state Senate close a gap with Republicans in the two weeks since voting ending and the counting began.
Sen. Kevin Thomas on Long Island won re-election this week and Democrats expect Sen. Jim Gaughran, another Long Island freshman, is on his way to a second term as well.
Democratic Sen. Andrew Gounardes, also elected in 2018, has also picked up about 5,000 votes and is now trailing by about 300 votes. There are 7,000 ballots left to be counted in the race with Republican Vito Bruno.
In Sen. Peter Harckham's race with Republican Rob Astorino, the Democratic lawmaker is down by about 7,400 votes. But there about 37,000 votes in heavily Democratic Westchester County left to count in the district.
Democratic incumbent Jen Metzger is down by about 8,000 votes in the Hudson Valley seat facing Republican Mike Martucci. There are 20,000 votes left to count.
And in the 46th Senate district, which stretches from the Mohawk Valley to the Hudson Valley, Democrat Michelle Hinchey has also gained ground against Republican Richard Amedure. She trails by about 5,800 votes. There are about 17,000 votes left to count in Albany and Ulster counties.
Counting in Democrat John Mannion and Republican Angi Renna's race has been delayed amid the confirmation of COVID-19 at the Board of Elections in Onondaga County.