NEW YORK — In a closely watched contest and by the narrowest of margins, Republican New York State Sen. Stephen Saland, one of four GOP senators to cast votes in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage, appears headed to victory in his primary battle against challenger Neil Di Carlo.
New York Republican Party officials said that with the nearly all of the absentee and affidavit ballots counted, Saland maintains a 107-vote lead over Di Carlo.
The New York State Elections Commission said Monday afternoon that only a few dozen contested ballots remain to be counted.
Saland’s race has been watched closely by LGBT advocates as well as opponents of same-sex marriage, and particularly by the National Organization For Marriage, who had run a concerted campaign against Saland’s re-election, claiming that he had betrayed his party’s principles by voting against the majority interests of his constituents in the same-sex marriage vote.
“I congratulate Senator Saland – - a steady, effective and fiscally conservative voice for Hudson Valley taxpayers and their families – - on achieving a hard-fought victory in the Republican primary for the 41st Senate District race,” said Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, in a statement.
Two other Republican senators who voted in favor of same-sex marriage — Senators Roy McDonald and Mark Grisanti — also faced primary challenges this month.
Grisanti handily won his primary, but the battle between McDonald and Kathy Marchione is still being contested. With most of the absentee and affidavit ballots counted, McDonald still trailed by 113 votes.
McDonald campaign spokesman Mike Veitch issuing the following statement:
“The McDonald campaign is considering all available options at this time. Senator McDonald is very proud of his career along with the accomplishments he’s achieved during his time in office and he is honored to participate in the democratic process. We plan to have a decision about the campaign’s future by the end of this week or the beginning of next week.”