The 2016 Election is in the books and it’s turned out to be a major victory for Republicans across the country as well as in the Southern Tier.
In the race for U.S. president, upstart Donald Trump pulled off one of the biggest surprises in election history by defeating former U.S. Senator and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Trump won enough support in key battleground states to tilt the total number of electoral votes his way, and by early Wednesday morning he had secured more than 270 votes – which is the minimum amount needed to win the presidency. While Trump garnered more electoral votes, both candidates had about an equal share of popular votes with each approaching 60,000,000. The total number of votes cast won’t be known for a couple more weeks, after an official canvas of the votes as taken place and all electoral votes are counted.
REED WINS REELECTION TO FOURTH TERM
Chautauqua County’s representative in Congress, Rep. Tom Reed (R-Corning, NY 23), was able to secure a fourth term in office after defeating Democratic Challenger, Naval Captain John Plumb (D-Lakewood). Reed picked up just under 150,000 votes in the district, which spans the Southern Tier of New York from Chautauqua County east to Tioga County. Plumb picked up just over 108,000. The margin of victory for Reed was 58 percent to 42 percent.
“We are humbled by the outpouring of support from volunteers and voters,” Reed said following the win. “I care deeply about this place we call home. I am proud to have earned your trust. I am excited to continuing working for our families.”
“We will put our record up against anyone’s because we have always fought to make sure New York got its fair share,” continued Reed. “Thank you for standing with us.”
In his concession speech, Plumb also thanked those who supported his campaign.
“This has been a long uphill battle, and I’m very proud to say that I’ve woken up every day of this campaign to fight on our behalf. Unfortunately, the votes have been counted and today did not go in our favor,” Plumb said during his concession speech in Jamestown.
“I’m proud to say that we ran the race I wanted to run. The race we all want our politicians to run. We ran our race with integrity and honor, and with a focus on the communities we seek to serve. Those are the values I ran our campaign with, the values that run deep in the Southern Tier, Western New York, and the Finger Lakes. Those are the principles we should always strive for no matter what challenges we face. Thank you all for supporting me throughout this journey,” Plumb added.
In Chautauqua County Reed picked up an unofficial total of 27,400 votes to Plumb’s 19,900 (also 58 percent to 42 percent), with between 3200 and 4000 absentee ballots left to be counted.
Reed was just one of 238 Republican who were elected or won reelection to the House on Tuesday, given the party a 40-member advantage over the Democrats.
Meanwhile in the Senate, U.S. Senator Charles Schumer (D-Brooklyn) easily won reelection over Republican Challenger Wendy Long by a margin of 70.4 percent to 27.5.
Despite predictions from some national media outlets that the Democrats would take over Congress’s upper legislative chamber, the GOP was able to maintain its control and will likely have 52 members come January, to the Democrats 48 members.
YOUNG, GOODELL CRUISE TO REELECTION
The area’s two representatives in Albany also won reelection.
In the State Senate race, Cathy Young (R-Olean, 57th District) easily defeated challenger Lee Hyson (D-Frewsburg). Young received 87,000 votes from across the 57th district – which comprises all of Chautauqua, Cattaraugus and Allegany Counties, along with the southern portion of Livingston County. Hyson, meanwhile, only managed to pick up just under 18,000 votes, giving Young an 83 to 17 percent margin of victory.
Nearly half of all of Young’s votes came from Chautauqua County, where she picked up an estimated 40,000. Hyson picked up just over 8,000.
While some races are still to close to call, state GOP officials are claiming victory in maintaining control of the state senate, meaning Young will continue to serve as chair of the powerful Senate Finance Committee, as well as serve as one of the top ranking Republicans in state politics.
Over in the Assembly race, Assemblyman Andy Goodell (R-Jamestown) won his fourth term in office, easily defeating challenger Jason Perdue (D-Jamestown) – 35,000 to 12,200 (74 to 26 percent).
SWANSON, SULLIVAN WIN IN SPECIAL COUNTY ELECTION
Chautauqua County Acting District Attorney Patrick Swanson (D-Fredonia) won in the race to fill out the remainder of the DA’s term – which expires at the end of 2017. Swanson defeated Jason Schmidt (R-Fredonia) 25,207 to 21,447. Swanson was appointed to the DA’s office at the start of 2016 after former DA David Foley left the post to assume the role of Chautauqua County Court Judge.
In the special election for Chautauqua County Family Court Judge, Michael Sullivan (R-Fredonia) defeated Sally Jaroszynski (D-Falconer) by a margin of 61 to 37 percent. The election took place to fill out the remainder of the term of former judge Judith Claire, who retired from the post earlier this year.
COUNTY LEGISLATURE TERM LENGTH REMAINS AT TWO YEARS
Voters in Chautauqua County voted down a proposition to amend the county charter and increase the term length for legislators from two years to four years. The proposition was defeated 26,783 to 16,287 – a margin of 62 to 38 percent.
STATE SUPREME COURT RACE TOO CLOSE TO CALL
And in the election to appoint two new Justices to the New York Supreme Court 8th District (which includes Chuatauqua County), the Buffalo News is reporting Wednesday that Republicans Mary L. Slisz and Daniel J. Furlong narrowly led a four-way race late Tuesday, but the outcome may depend on the districts in Erie County where ballots had not yet been tabulated.
Slisz, a Buffalo lawyer, and Furlong, confidential law clerk for retiring Justice Joseph R. Glownia, built pluralities in the seven Western New York counties outside Erie County. Both also ran for seats on the court in 2014.
Unofficial totals late Tuesday showed Democrats Lynn Wessel Keane, the Orchard Park town justice, and Grace M. Hanlon, former first assistant district attorney in Chautauqua County, ahead in Erie County by sizable margins, but it was not clear whether that would offset the vote for Slisz and Furlong elsewhere.