Calling him an “exemplary representative for the Hudson Valley,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued a statement in support of longtime incumbent Sen. Stephen Saland, who officially conceded his re-election bid today.
Saland became the first Republican ever endorsed by Cuomo, a Democrat, earlier this year. Saland worked behind the scenes with Cuomo last year to craft religious exemptions to a bill legalizing same-sex marriage, ultimately providing one of four GOP votes necessary for the measure to become law.
A Poughkeepsie Republican, Saland conceded his race to Democrat Terry Gipson, a trustee from Rhinebeck, Dutchess County, earlier today.
“It is unfortunate that an elected official who stood so strong for equality, as Steve did, was not able to survive in today’s political environment,” Cuomo said in his statement.
Cuomo has long had complimentary things to say about Saland, issuing a glowing, two-page endorsement letter in October.
Ultimately, Saland lost by about 2,000 votes to Gipson, while Conservative Party candidate Neil Di Carlo grabbed about 15,000 votes.
With Saland’s defeat, three of the four Republican senators who supported same-sex marriage won’t return to Albany in January. Saratoga Sen. Roy McDonald was defeated in a primary, while Sen. James Alesi, R-Perinton, Monroe County, declined to seek re-election.
Cuomo’s full statement appears after the jump.
“Senator Stephen Saland has been an exemplary representative for the Hudson Valley whose leadership has made New York a better place.
“Steve has been a true partner who always put what was right before politics, and worked with me during the past two years to rebuild this state and restore the people’s faith in government. Throughout his career, he championed issues that directly affected New Yorkers, from strengthening protections against domestic violence, to putting in place an all-crimes DNA databank. As a result of his courage, tens of thousands of couples here in New York State have the freedom to marry whom they choose. Steve is a public servant of remarkable character, integrity, and courage and serves as a model for our collective aspirations of how our elected officials should perform. It is unfortunate that an elected official who stood so strong for equality, as Steve did, was not able to survive in today’s political environment.
“I thank Steve for his work on behalf of the people of the state of New York and his friendship, and give my warmest wishes to him, his wife Linda, and their family as they enter this next phase.”