(Post has been updated throughout.)
Longtime incumbent Sen. Stephen Saland has officially conceded his Senate race to Democrat Terry Gipson.
“I would like to thank the people I have represented for the last 32 years in both the Assembly and the Senate for the privilege of serving them,” Saland (pictured) said in a statement. “It has truly been a great honor; an honor I share with the members of my staff who dedicated themselves to the people who I have had the good fortune to represent.”
Gipson, a trustee in Rhinebeck, Dutchess County, finished with a margin of victory of about 2,000 votes, according to Democrats. Saland, a Poughkeepsie Republican, had served in the Assembly prior to taking office in the Legislature’s upper chamber.
Democrats say they expect the race to be certified by the Board of Elections either today or tomorrow.
The district includes most of Dutchess County and half of Putnam.
Saland was one of four GOP Senators who voted in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage, giving the measure a boost that was necessary for passage. He attracted a Conservative Party challenger in Neil Di Carlo, who garnered about 15,000 votes. Saland’s loss means just one of those four Republicans — Buffalo Sen. Mark Grisanti — will return to the chamber in 2013.
Gipson held a lead of about 1,600 votes on Election Day — a lead that has grown since then. Saland all but conceded over the weekend, calling for an end to delays in counting absentee and affidavit ballots in the race.
Gipson’s victory leaves one undecided Senate race: the battle in the 46th District between Republican Assemblyman George Amedore and Democrat Cecilia Tkaczyk, both of Schenectady County. The too-close-to-call race is currently tied up in the courts.
Saland’s full statement can be read after the jump.
“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.
“The Putnam County and Dutchess County Board of Elections are to be commended for their hard work and diligence to ensure the integrity of the election process and overseeing the count of all votes.
“I would like to thank the people I have represented for the last 32 years in both the Assembly and the Senate for the privilege of serving them. It has truly been a great honor; an honor I share with the members of my staff who dedicated themselves to the people who I have had the good fortune to represent. I extend a heartfelt thank you to the many that have stood by me, supported me, and aided me in my public service, most especially my wife Linda and our family.
“Today’s final results offer a time to reflect on a fulfilling legislative career that has allowed me an opportunity to give back to the community which has given so much to me and my family. I wish those I have represented, regardless of party, only the best and thank them for the years they entrusted me to serve as their State Senator.”