Syracuse, N.Y. — Republican Angi Renna is leading Democrat John Mannion by about 5 percentage points in the 50th Senate district race with all election districts reporting.
Renna has 63,299 votes, or 51%, to Mannion’s 56,071 votes, or 46%.
The final outcome will be determined by the 36,495 absentee ballots yet to be counted in the race. Mannion still has a chance of victory because Democrats cast more than half of those ballots.
Renna said her 7,228 vote lead is not big enough to declare victory, but she was elated to be this far ahead. She has not heard from Mannion tonight and does not expect a concession. “I feel good,” she said.
Mannion could capture about 21,137 absentees if all the ballots cast by Democratic, Working Family, Green Party and unaffiliated voters fell his way. Renna could capture about 15,276 absentees if all the ballots cast by Republicans, Conservatives, Independents and half of the unaffiliated voters lean her way.
Mannion may get enough absentees to overcome the 7,228 deficit, but he has to pick up at least half of the independent voters and hope the remaining 10,000 absentee ballots that have not been returned yet lean his way.
Renna filed legal papers earlier today that could lead to a formal request to impound ballots from today’s election. It is a step candidates sometimes take when they expect a race to be decided by absentee ballots.
Renna, 46, of Manlius, is president of Sterling Financial Group. This is her first run for public office.
Mannion, 52, of Geddes, is a West Genesee High School teacher who ran unsuccessfully for the 50th Senate District seat in 2018. He was narrowly defeated by Republican Bob Antonacci who vacated the Senate seat in January after being elected a state Supreme Court justice.
The 50th Senate district includes part of Syracuse’s North Side, about half of Onondaga County and a small part of Cayuga County, including Auburn.
The seat has been controlled by Republicans for 53 years. Former Sen. John DeFrancisco represented the 50th district for 25 years before retiring in 2018.
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Renna thanked all her volunteers, many by name. She thanked Ryan McMahon for being a great mentor.
Renna said she thinks her background in small business appealed to voters, because they believe she understands economic development and can help create jobs.
Mannion said in a prepared statement he’s confident he will win when the absentees are counted. “For too long, the 50th Senate District has not had a voice in Albany, and I want to ensure we move swiftly to count every ballot so that I can hit the ground running and get to work,” he said.
Mannion raised more than $346,000 in campaign contributions and spent $316,433.
Renna raised more than $155,993 and spent $116,221.
In addition, independent outside groups have poured money into the race.
Progress NYS, a political action committee associated with the New York United Teachers union, plowed more than $126,000 into the race to support Mannion. Stronger Neighborhoods PAC, which is linked to Airbnb, also spent nearly $24,000 to back Mannion. Airbnb created the political action committee to help ease strict regulations on its home sharing services in New York City.
The Upstate Jobs Committee, linked to a nonprofit that helps startup businesses grow Upstate, spent about $75,000 supporting Renna and other Republican Senate candidates. The National Rifle Association shelled out more than $21,000 on postcards promoting Renna and other GOP Senate candidates.
Safe Together, a group backed by billionaire cosmetics mogul and political activist Ronald Lauder, has spent more than $1.5 million on TV ads opposing Mannion and other Democrats running for Senate.
James T. Mulder covers health and higher education. Have a news tip? Contact him at (315) 470-2245 or email@example.com
(Reporter Tim Knauss contributed to this story)