The count of absentee and affidavit ballots in the race between Democrat Terry Gipson and Sen. Stephen Saland, R-Poughkeepsie, has been arduous, to say the least.
But in a statement tonight, Saland indicated he is unlikely to win as he faces a 1,181-vote deficit with 2,267 absentees and nearly 1,400 affidavits remaining to be counted. He said it has been “great honor for me to serve the good people of the Hudson Valley as their New York state senator.”
“Although we have gained a significant number of votes during the recount, and the margin has been greatly reduced, I have used the weekend to reassess our standing,” Saland said in a statement. “Despite these gains, it is becoming apparent that we may not gain enough in the end to ultimately be successful.”
He said he would stop the legal challenges to the ballot counting, which has gone on daily and at a slow pace.
“As a result, I have instructed our attorneys, to stipulate with Terry Gipson’s attorneys to allow the Boards of Elections to independently count the remaining votes, without any burden or delay of additional oversight,” Saland said. “Upon the swift conclusion of this process, the certified winner of this election will be entitled to recognition and congratulations.”
Saland, who was endorsed by Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo, is making the announcement after his party appears to have secured its control of the Senate in January, with or without him. Senate Republicans reached a deal Tuesday with the five-member Independent Democratic Conference to share power in the chamber, shutting out Senate Democrats from regaining the majority they held in 2009 and 2010. If Gipson wins, Democrats would 32 elected Senate members — enough on paper for a majority.
Saland, first elected to the Senate in 1990, was one of four Republicans to support same-sex marriage last year. His vote led to a Republican primary that he narrowly won, and a three-way race in November that he appears likely to lose.