Valesky elected to fourth term

Democrats who attended the Election Night party at the Holiday Inn in Liverpool remained optimistic early on despite counts streaming in that promised some tight races for local politicians.

Onondaga County Committee Chair Vita DeMarchi confirmed why she felt the party would pull through.

"Our strength is our core Democratic values," she said, naming inclusiveness, and respect for individuality and human rights among them.

By night's end, those expectations were greeted with heavy applause as several party members came through with significant wins, including District 49 incumbent Sen. David Valesky and District 119 Assemblyman-elect Samuel Roberts.

Valesky (D-49) came out on top with 26,303 votes, or 57.4 percent against newcomer Republican Andrew Russo, who brought in 19,445, or 42.4 percent. At one point, however, the two were neck and neck.

"For someone who had not been part of the political process before, [Russo] ran a tough campaign, he did his homework, knew the issues [and] is a real gentleman," said Valesky to his sea of supporters. Russo had just called Valesky moments before his speech. "We have a lot of challenges that lie ahead ... but what I think we've learned in this campaign is that voters here in Central New York and across the state want a new spirit of cooperation [and] they want their elected officials to work together in a bipartisan fashion to bring about the kind of change that we need in Albany."

Valesky listed jobs, an improved economy, education, healthcare, reform in Albany and lifting the property tax burden as top constituent concerns. When asked if he understood the sentiment of voters this season, Valesky responded.

"It's a tough economy that we're in. Everyone is anxious, frustrated, we've been through some very difficult years in the senate, there's no question about it. We've got to turn the page and start fresh in January."

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