By Anna Gustafson
The people of the 11th State Senate District finally have representation in Albany.
Incumbent Frank Padavan (R-Bellerose) defeated City Councilman James Gennaro (D-Fresh Meadows) by 480 votes, according to Gennaro campaign spokesman Mike Barfield.
“We’re certainly gratified by the fact that, despite some very long odds, we prevailed,” Padavan said Thursday evening.
Queens Supreme Court Judge Kevin Kerrigan reviewed the vote recount results Thursday, and the New York City Board of Elections will now certify the election.
Gennaro officially conceded defeat to Padavan Thursday evening.
“The events of the last three months notwithstanding, I wish Mr. Padavan well and call for this election … to be certified without further delay so that the people of the 11th Senate District can once again have representation in the state Senate,” Gennaro said in a statement.
Democrats and Republicans fought for months over the vote count in the 11th District since November, when Padavan led Gennaro by more than 700 votes, out of a total of about 100,000 ballots cast. Democrats accused Republicans of not wanting to count about 2,800 votes originally discredited by the Queens Elections Board because the ballots were from minority, disabled and younger voters, who often vote Democratic.
Republicans contended the Gennaro campaign prolonged the inevitable Padavan victory by calling to count the 2,800 ballots they argued had already been invalidated by the board of elections.
In mid-January, the city Elections Board reversed their original decision and ruled the remaining ballots could be counted.
Padavan said he will now travel to Albany to deal with the state’s fiscal crisis.
“We are up to speed in terms of what’s going on, and there are some very serious economic problems,” Padavan said. “We’ll have to deal with them in a very positive and constructive way.”