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October 5, 2013

GOP, Lopez eye Senate seat


Tkaczyk spokesman Jim Plastiras said he expects his boss will seek re-election next year but noted that no formal announcement of her political intentions has been made.

“Sen. Tkaczyk has been working extremely hard, meeting with, listening to and fighting for her constituents,” he said. “She will continue to work hard every day, regardless of who her opponent might be.”

The 46th Senate District includes all of Greene County and Montgomery counties, and portions of Schenectady, Albany and Ulster counties.

The 127th Assembly District represented by Lopez includes all of Schoharie County, plus portions of Chenango, Columbia, Delaware, Greene, Otsego and Ulster counties.

Lopez, a former Schoharie County clerk and the father of four children, has held the Assembly seat since January 2007. He was unopposed in his next two outings and won handily in 2012. His biggest political obstacle came last year when the initial draft of new district maps wiped out much of his district. But the lines were altered again, and he ended up keeping much of his former territory.

Tkaczyk is still in her first term in the Senate, topping former state Assemblyman George Amedore by only 18 votes in an election where more than 126,000 ballots were cast. The contest led to a recount that dragged out for two months, and she was not installed in the seat until after Jan. 1. The Tkaczyk-Amedore race resulted in heavy campaign spending, with both sides burning through a total of $2.4 million.

Tkaczyk a former school board president, reeled in $260,000 from Jonathan Soros, the son of liberal billionaire George Soros, and another $250,000 from Eldridge and his wealthy husband, Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes.

Though Tkaczyk’s victory gave Democrats a 33-30 majority in upper house, four of those Democrats have joined the Independent Democratic Conference. They have aligned themselves with the Republicans on many key issues, putting the new coalition in charge of the Senate. As a result, Republicans and their Democratic allies have greater control of pork-barrel spending, and are thus able to bring back more bacon to their districts than the Democrats who remained loyal to their party.

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