Democrat Samra Brouk was on the verge of putting the state’s 55th Senate District in her party’s hands Tuesday. She pulled in roughly 50% of votes cast during early voting and on Election Day, while Republican Chris Missick received around 46%, according to the Monroe County Board of Elections.
But with tens of thousands of absentee ballots still to be counted, neither candidate is a clear winner. Those untallied ballots could easily secure victory for Brouk or send Missick soaring to the top.
It was not immediately clear Tuesday how many absentee ballots were outstanding. CITY has asked the Board of Elections to provide that number when it is available.
The 55th District has been a battleground in recent years. It’s winnable by both Democratic and Republican candidates, and each party has tried to get a lock on the seat. On paper, Democrats should win the district easily because of the party’s substantial voter registration lead. But the GOP historically has the better turnout, likely aided by Republican-leaning unaffiliated voters. Lawmakers have drawn the district to capitalize on that dynamic.
From the moment she stepped in the race, Brouk made a point of visiting as much of the sprawling district as possible, which she was able to do because she started campaigning before the pandemic. Throughout her campaign, she stressed her connections to the district -- she lives in the city of Rochester, is a graduate of Pittsford’s Mendon High School, and has grandparents who’ve lived in the same Bloomfield house for 80 years.
Brouk also made listening a central part of her campaign and told voters that she shared their concerns about education funding, health care funding, and the peril facing small businesses.
Missick made New York’s business climate a focus of his campaign and put his proposal for a state infrastructure bank at the center of it. The bank would make grants and loans to struggling urban and rural communities for roads, bridges, electrical grids, water treatment systems, projects to address climate change-related flooding, affordable housing, and broadband internet, among other efforts. It could be paid for, he said, through a $3 billion bond measure and with $425 million the state currently uses for television and film production tax credits.
He noted during an interview with CITY that he got into the race because of the state’s bail reform laws, which he wants rolled back.
Republican Rich Funke has represented the district since 2015, but decided not to seek re-election this year. The GOP lost control of the chamber in the 2018 elections and several Republican senators made a similar choice, presumably because they didn’t want to serve in the minority.
Jeremy Moule is CITY’s news editor. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.