Democrat Marc C. Panepinto claimed victory tonight in the hard fought and expensive 60th District Senate race.
With 100 percent of the districts reporting, Panepinto won 34 percent of the votes, while his opponent Republican Kevin T. Stocker had 30 percent and incumbent Mark J. Grisanti, running on the Independence Party line, had 29 percent. Conservative Party candidate Timothy Gallagher, who did not run an active campaign, had 8 percent.
“I am not going to Albany with an overwhelming mandate,” Panepinto told the cheering crowd of about 80 people at his victory party above Casa Di Pizza on Elmwood Avenue. “But you’ve only got to win by one. And I’ve won by more than one.”
Panepinto said that while Republicans ran a smear campaign against him, he focused on issues: Holding back hydraulic fracturing, raising the minimum wage, and passing all 10 points of the Women’s Equality Act.
He also thanked the coalition of organized labor, particularly, the New York State United Teachers, that helped fuel his campaign. And he thanked the politicians who gravitated toward his side, including Rep. Brian Higgins, state Sen. Timothy Kennedy, Mayor Byron W. Brown and Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz.
Stocker, meanwhile, who got the voting results in his Kenmore home, described himself as “reserved” and “disappointed” over the vote. “All you can do is hope and pray and be optimistic,” he said.
Grisanti, meanwhile, who gathered with supporters at the SoHo Burgerbar on Chippewa Street, said that he is not conceding. “I’ve been through this before with a close race,” he said. “I’m going to wait to see what happens with the rest of the percentages.”
There are 2,908 absentee ballots in the 60th district race yet to be counted, according to the county election board. Based on Tuesday’s vote tally, before the absentee votes are counted, Panepinto was ahead of Stocker by 2,060 votes and ahead of Grisanti by 2,656 votes.