The blue wave across New York State had long-time Republican State Sen. Marty Golden treading water Tuesday night—but not yet willing to swim into the sunset.
According to preliminary results from the New York State Board of Elections, Democrat Andrew Gounardes received 29,182 votes to Golden’s 28,527, with 59,029 ballots cast overall. The margin of 655 votes represented a margin of 1.1 percent.
In a statement released just after midnight, Gounardes—a lawyer for Brooklyn borough president who challenged Golden and lost by a substantial margin six years ago—thanked Golden for his service. “Despite our differences we both agree that public service is truly a privilege. Tomorrow begins a new chapter,” Gounardes said. “I look forward to giving the constituents of District 22 a real voice in Albany.”
Gounardes vowed to deliver on promises of “real results for working families, including, quality, affordable health care, fully funded public schools, speed cameras in every school zone, reproductive choice for all women, lower housing costs, and accessible and reliable public transit.”
But Golden, a highly-decorated police officer forced from the NYPD by injury who served on the City Council before being elected to the Senate in 2002, did not accept his rival’s gratitude. In a speech to supporters, he said there are still 3,000 paper ballots to be counted. “This is not over,” he assured them.
In a brief interview after his speech, Golden told City Limits that it will likely take lawyers another week or so to review those outstanding ballots. “God is good. Whatever happens, happens. I do believe I’m going to win this, I hope for my community and for the people I represent, for this great state, I do win, and we’ll see what happens.”
Golden has survived as a Republican in New York City even as the state, city and his own district saw Democratic registration gains outpace those of the GOP. As other urban Republicans like Frank Padavan, Serphin Maltese and Guy Velella faded from the scene, Golden held on, despite a reputation for off-color remarks and gaffes.
Earlier on Election Night, supporters at Golden’s results-watching event explained the roots of his popularity. “He really gets involved — he doesn’t just sit around the office,” said Frances Mignano, who was born and raised in Golden’s district and currently lives in Bergen Beach. She describes herself as an independent voter, and said she supports the senator not because of his political affiliation but for “his morals, his ethics, his character, his values.”
“I vote for people that I believe in; it’s not about a party, it’s about a person,” she said.
Mignano and her friend, Bensonhurst resident Maria Campanella, donned “Marty Golden” campaign banners draped around their torsos, jokingly referring to themselves as the “Golden Girls.” Campanella said Golden’s decades of experience in the neighborhood is what makes him an asset.
“He already knows our community inside out. Without him—God forbid,” she said.