By Jason Gabak
After an election night that looked like Republican Angi Renna of Manlius had defeated Democrat John Mannion of Geddes for the senate seat in New York State’s 50th District, when absentee ballot counting resumed on Nov. 30, Mannion took the lead and was expected to take the majority of the 15,000 absentee ballots that remained to be counted at that time.
On election night, Renna was ahead by 7,228 votes and was still ahead by about 3,800 votes when the count was suspended for two weeks due to COVID-19 exposure among election staff in Onondaga County.
When the count resumed on Nov. 30, Mannion cut that lead to less than 2,000 votes and by the end of the day Nov. 30, Mannion was ahead by 2,299 votes and was expected to see that lead grow with 15,000 votes to still be counted at that time.
Mannion’s campaign declared victory earlier in the day and Renna’s campaign ultimately conceded the race to Mannion.
Renna, a first time candidate, said it was a good campaign while extending her congratulations to Mannion.
“It’s been a long, hard-fought campaign, in the middle of a pandemic and I want to thank every person on my team, every volunteer and every person who came out to vote for me from the bottom of my heart,” she wrote in a statement on her campaign Facebook page. “Unfortunately, our efforts have fallen short after holding a lead on Election Day. I want to extend my congratulations to John Mannion, as he heads to the Senate in January. Our work for this district doesn’t stop. I encourage everyone to continue to be vocal about reviving our economy, supporting our small businesses and keeping our communities safe.”
Mannion, a biology teacher in the West Genesee school district, ran in 2018, losing to Republican Robert Antonacci.
When Antonacci left the seat after being selected to be a State Supreme Court judge at the end of 2019, Gov. Andrew Cuomo called for a special election in April to fill the seat.
This election was derailed by COVID-19.
The governor initially postponed the election until June to coincide with the state primary, but this was canceled and the decision was made to wait until November and the general election.
Mannion’s victory gives Democrats 43 of the 63 seats in the state senate. Democrats needed to win 42 seats to have a supermajority.
Prior to Mannion’s win, the seat had been solidly Republican for 50 years with Tarky Lombardi and John DeFrancisco holding the seat prior to Antonacci.
Mannion said he was honored to have the support of the voters in the district which includes parts of Onondaga and Cayuga counties.
“After today’s count, it’s clear that I have been chosen to serve as our next senator,” Mannion wrote in a post on his campaign’s Facebook page. “It’s an honor for me and my family, but it’s a victory for working people in Central New York who will finally have a senator who can bring our voice and our values to Albany. Thank you!”
Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins released a statement welcoming Mannion to the senate and congratulating him on his victory.
“John will be a strong voice for his constituents and joins a large group of senators representing Upstate New York residents,” Stewart-Cousins said. “John’s experience and lifelong commitment to his community will be invaluable as the Senate Democratic Conference moves forward helping our entire state emerge from this pandemic and economic crisis stronger and better prepared for the future.”