Exactly three weeks after Election Day, state Sen. Pete Harckham has secured his victory to continue serving the 40th Senate District for a second term.
Following a controversial race, Harckham declared victory on Tuesday over Republican challenger and former Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino. While Astorino led the race by more than 8,000 votes on Election night, Harckham was able to tighten his lead by less than 500 votes once officials began tallying thousands of absentee ballots.
With more than 15,000 ballots still to be opened in Westchester County, where Harckham is winning votes at a 75 percent rate, he was expected to take the lead in Tuesday’s vote counting officially putting him well-ahead of Astorino. Democratic strongholds like Mount Kisco, New Castle and Peekskill have not yet been counted, officials said.
“I am humbled and grateful for all of the tremendous support I have received during this campaign, and thank all of the voters in Senate District 40 for participating in this historic election,” Harckham said. “The confidence and trust that residents have placed in me once again will continue to guide my intentions. These are challenging times, though, and I look forward to being engaged in the hard work necessary to ensure a better future for all.”
After the absentee ballots were counted in Dutchess and Putnam Counties, two Republican strongholds, Harckham had reduced Astorino’s lead to 5,896 votes, with the process to begin counting Westchester’s approximately 25,000 absentee ballots getting underway on Friday. In total, the absentee ballots in the race amounted to about 25% of the entire vote.
Astorino conceded Tuesday morning, with both men congratulating each other on a hard fought race.
“Mr. Astorino called Senator Harckham this morning to congratulate him on his victory and to offer him his support in any way,” Astorino’s Spokesperson William O’Reilly said. “This was a close, close race, but we respect the will of the voters and wish Senator Harckham the best in his new term.”
Two years ago, Harckham became the first Democrat to serve the district since 1914 after ousting Republican Terrence Murphy. Harckham will begin his second term representing the 40th Senate District in January 2021, with his win securing the Democrats supermajority in the State Senate.
“I’m thrilled to welcome my good friend Senator Peter Harckham back to the State Senate,” said Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins. “Senator Harckham has worked tirelessly to deliver results to the people of Westchester, Dutchess and Putnam Counties and earned this re-election. I look forward to continuing to partner with Senator Harckham as we tackle the many challenges ahead of us.”
The 40th State Senate District covers the villages of Sleepy Hollow, Pleasantville, Briarcliff Manor, Croton-on-Hudson and Buchanan, the town/village of Mount Kisco, the towns of Cortlandt, Lewisboro, Mount Pleasant, New Castle, North Salem, Pound Ridge, Somers and Yorktown, the City of Peekskill, and parts of Putnam and Dutchess counties.