Sen. Steve Saland of Poughkeepsie conceded his race against Democrat Terry Gipson today. "After learning today the final count of the absentee ballots and affidavits have revealed that the voters have selected Terry Gipson as the State Senator of the 41st Senate District, I respectfully concede in my bid for State Senate and offer my sincere congratulations to Mr. Gipson," Saland wrote in a statement. Saland was tremendously popular in his district and his loss came as a surprise to many.
That leaves one more Senate race outstanding although it will likely have no impact on control of the Senate as Senate Republicans joined with the Independent Democratic Conference in a power-sharing agreement. The 46th ditrict race between Republican Assemblyman George Amedore and Democrat Cecellia Tkaczyk will be decided by a judge.
Saland is one of four Republican Senators who voted for same-sex marriage earlier this year. Saland faced a conservative primary challenger because of that vote. Only one Republican Senator who voted for same-sex marriage will return next year.
Republican Conference Leader Dean Skelos issued a statement praising Saland:
I join all New Yorkers in wishing Senator Steve Saland the best as he completes a 32-year career in the State Legislature, the last 22 as a distinguished member of the New York State Senate. Steve is a highly-respected lawmaker and a dear friend.
â€śThis chamber will miss Steve Salandâ€™s clear and steady voice, most notably in the areas of criminal justice and victimâ€™s rights. Steve was the author of more than 350 laws, and he has been a fierce advocate for the victims of domestic violence and child abuse.
Senator Saland was the driving force behind legislation requiring school district employees to be fingerprinted, so that extensive criminal background checks could be done. Just last year, Steve won passage of a landmark domestic violence bill, later signed into law by Governor Cuomo, which included the most significant and far-reaching changes to the Stateâ€™s domestic violence laws in a decade. There is no doubt that women and children are safer today because Steve Saland never stopped fighting for them.
Steve Saland has been an important and influential voice for the Hudson Valley, and his shoes will be difficult to fill. In addition, he has been a valuable member of the Senate Republican Conference on key issues for more than twenty years. His leadership and his friendship will be sorely missed.â€ť