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Cooney wins race to take over Robach’s seat in 56th Senate District



With the absentee, affidavit and military ballot totals counted in Monroe County, Democrat Jeremy Cooney appears to be the unofficial winner in the race for the 56th District in the New York State Senate.

Cooney had a lead of 866 votes over Republican Mike Barry on the night of the November 3 general election.

The New York State Senate seat is being vacated by Republican lawmaker Joe Robach, who has served as the district’s senator for 18 years. He was previously a Democrat from 1991 through 2002 in the New York State Assembly.

After the ballots were counted by the Monroe County Board of Elections this week, Cooney’s lead was extended to nearly 14,500 votes.

“We knew that we would do really well in the absentee count, and the results showed we were up by 10 points,” Cooney said.

MORE: Robach leaving Legislature after 30 years

Barry addressed his supporters Wednesday morning in a live video on Facebook, saying his campaign “came up short” in the absentee votes. He thanked his supporters for their hard work.

“We came up short at the end, but I am proud of the race that we ran,” Barry said. “I am proud of and thankful for getting to know so many people through this process.”

The 56th Senate District encompasses the towns of Brighton, Clarkson, Gates, Greece, Hamlin, Parma, and parts of the City of Rochester, including Charlotte, Historic Maplewood and the University of Rochester.

Voter party enrollment is lopsided. There are 35,000 more registered Democrats in the district than Republicans.

Robach, a Republican, held the seat, in part, by appealing to Democrats who knew him when he was part of the “blue” party and by courting people who are not registered with any political party, known as “blanks.” There are nearly as many blanks as Republicans in the 56th.

“We were up against an enrollment that was tremendously against us. If you look at the political parties (registration), we did much better than people would have thought,” Barry said on social media.

Cooney was adopted from India, brought to the United States and raised by a single mother.

“That’s the story of America and of New York,” said Cooney, “an opportunity to work hard and to make a difference.”