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GOP Maintains Hold On Southern Tier As Akshar Wins

Senator-elect Fred Akshar (R) speaking with the media and celebrating his victory Tuesday over Barbara Fiala (D).
Senator-elect Fred Akshar (R) speaking with the media and celebrating his victory Tuesday over Barbara Fiala (D).

In a special election Tuesday, the GOP in New York’s Southern Tier maintained its fifty year hold on the 52nd Senate District. 

Senator-elect Fred Akshar (R) speaking with the media and celebrating his victory Tuesday over Barbara Fiala (D).
Credit Charles Compton / WSKG News
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Senator-elect Fred Akshar (R) speaking with the media and celebrating his victory Tuesday over Barbara Fiala (D).

Hear the story of Fred Akshar's victory over Barbara Fiala.

Broome CountyUndersheriffFred Akshar took over three-quarters of the vote and easily defeated Democrat Barbara Fiala. Akshar succeeded by labeling Fiala as an Albany insider.  She had served in the Cuomo Administration as commissioner of the Department of Motor Vehicles.

“You’ve chosen a new direction.  New ideas.  You said enough of the negative, partisan politics of the past.  You said it’s time to change Albany,” saidAkshar.

Since this was a special election,Aksharmust run again in next year’s regular election.  In his victory speech, the Republican promised to give voters the change they desire.

For the first time in her political career, Barbara Fiala conceded defeat.
Credit Monica Sandreczki / WSKG News
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For the first time in her political career, Barbara Fiala conceded defeat.

Aksharreplaces former State Senator TomLibous.  The high-ranking Republican was forced from office in July when he was convicted of lying to the FBI.

“I want to make one more pledge to each of you, that as I work with your continued support to change Albany and to make the Southern Tier great again, I will never let Albany change me,” saidAkshar.Democrats console Barbara Fiala in her loss to Fred Akshar.

Fred Akshar as he takes the oath of office for the 52 Senate District seat.
Credit Charles Compton / WSKG News
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Fred Akshar as he takes the oath of office for the 52 Senate District seat.

Down the street in Binghamton, at the Double Tree Hotel where Democrats held their party,Fialablamed her defeat on big money.  She says her Republican opponent had more than five times the money she did.

“He had a machine gun and I had a sling shot,” saidFiala.

Despite the loss,Fialasays she was pleased with her campaign. She says she fought the good fight and didn’t rule out the possibility of getting in the ring again.

GOP Maintains Hold On Southern Tier As Akshar Wins

Copyright 2015 WSKG News

Charles Compton is a 35 year veteran of public radio who has won numerous local, regional and national awards for investigative journalism, features, and science reporting. As a student-reporter, he was at work at a public radio station in Cincinnati, Ohio when NPR introduced "Morning Edition" to the world. He has since reported for public radio stations in Alaska, Washington State, and Idaho. However, much of his career has been in Kentucky where he has reported at four public radio stations. In 1997, Charles helped launch Kentucky Public Radio's story exchange, and chaired theKPREditorial Board when it established a state house bureau in 2005. He has also served as a national board member for Public Radio News Directors, Inc.
Monica Sandreczki heads up the socioeconomic desk at WSKG, covering stories about how social structures affect people who don't earn much money. Before that, she hosted Morning Edition at the station for two and a half years.