In one contested State Senate race in Queens, a 40-year Republican incumbent lost out to a Democratic challenger. NY1’s Ruschell Boone filed the following report.
It's the end of an era. After nearly 40 years in the State Senate, Frank Padavan will not be going back to Albany. The longtime Republican incumbent narrowly lost to Democrat Tony Avella. But Padavan did not want to concede.
“This electionary process that we're dealing with is very slow to begin with. People are taking out slips of paper, yards long, like in the supermarket, and trying to read off numbers,” said Padavan.
But the numbers provided by the Associated Press show the race didn't go Padavan's way. With 100 percent of precincts reporting, the AP said he'd lost by more than 3,000 votes – a crushing loss for the Republican who entered the State Senate in 1973.
Even though the 11th District is mostly Democratic, people always came out for Padavan. But in recent years, some came to feel he was out of touch, leaving the door open for a close challenge last election and the loss to former City Councilman Tony Avella this time around.
“My district is three-to-one Democratic, and when you have that kind of disadvantage, you never really know,” said Padavan.
While Padavan was telling his somber supporters on Bell Boulevard not to give up hope, another kind of party was going on around the corner on 40th Avenue at the Avella camp.
“I'm truly humbled by all of you and what you have done here tonight,” said the city councilman. “This was not my victory. It was your victory.”
It was also a victory for the Democrats fighting to retain their narrow majority in the State Senate.
“What you're seeing here is the new Queens team in the State Senate and we're going to move forward together,” said State Senator Michael Gianaris.
“I believe this is going to change Queens politics forever,” said Avella.