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Jacobs wins 60th District State Senate seat

Republican Christopher L. Jacobs easily defeated Democrat Amber Small in a hard-fought race for the State Senate 60th District seat.

Jacobs, the Erie County clerk, said he is looking forward to the work ahead in Albany, promoting the region's continuing economic renaissance.

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"I want to be a major catalyst in helping that continue," he said.

He also said he'll make good on his reform pledges.

"We certainly talked about the need for reform up in Albany," he said. "We need that reform to instill in our citizens trust in our government."

The race between Jacobs and Small heated up over time, especially as it became clear that the outcome could go a long way in determining the next majority of Albany’s upper house.

Voters were inundated with negative mailers and TV commercials.

And both candidates were buoyed by hundreds of thousands of dollars in outside campaign contributions that poured into a race considered a major driver of Western New York politics.

Jacobs said that despite the many who voted Democratic in the presidential election, he was heartened to see so many cross party lines to vote for him by a large margin.

"From what I've seen thus far, people were willing – irrespective of where they were on the presidential line – to come find me," he said.

The 60th State Senate District runs through a major swath of Western New York, from Grand Island down through the City of Buffalo and into Gowanda. Jacobs, currently serving as Erie County clerk, will assume the district seat now held by Democrat Marc Panepinto, who did not seek re-election.

Jacobs, 49, benefited heavily from party and political action committee contributions. He also loaned his campaign $200,000.

Small, 30, received both party support and big contributions from the state teachers union.

The 60th District race typically gets lots of attention. Stability, however, ranks as one quality noticeably absent over the past few years. Republican Mark J. Grisanti held the seat for two terms after Democrat Antoine M. Thompson’s short stay in the State Senate. And Panepinto in March announced his departure after only 14 months in office.

While the district has about 35,000 more Democrats than Republicans, Jacobs’ message of term limits and fighting the political dominance of New York City appeared to resonated with voters.

He also touted a record of service to residents and fiscal responsibility.

Small, executive director of the Parkside Community Association, was making her first attempt at public office, running as a champion of women’s issues and infrastructure investment. She wanted the state to finance megaprojects like reconstruction of sewer systems and environmental projects to prevent worsening pollution problems in Lake Erie and other waterways.


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