Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Upset Sends Democrat to Albany

ALBANY — In a major victory for Gov. Eliot Spitzer and his party, a Democratic assemblyman won a stunning upset in a State Senate election on Tuesday in a district that has been in Republican hands for a century.

The win reduces the Republicans’ majority to one seat and will intensify pressure on the majority leader, Joseph L. Bruno, as he tries to maintain his party’s grip on the Senate, which it has controlled for more than 40 years.

The Democrat, Darrel J. Aubertine, a dairy farmer, leaned heavily on Mr. Spitzer’s media consultant and the state Democrats’ money as he waged a costly campaign against the Republican, William A. Barclay, a lawyer and an assemblyman whose father once held the Senate seat.

Mr. Aubertine won 52 percent of the vote to 48 percent for Mr. Barclay, according to unofficial results. Republicans outnumber Democrats 78,454 to 46,824 in the north country district, and Mr. Barclay had been favored to win.

“I think it has to send shivers up their spines,” said the state Democratic chairwoman, June O’Neill, about the Republicans, as whoops and hollers erupted around her at a victory party for Mr. Aubertine at an Italian-American civic club in Watertown.

She added: “The Democratic Party can meet and beat the Republican machine anywhere. If we can do it here, we can do it anywhere.”.......

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