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Davis concedes; Stec will succeed Little as state senator for northeast NY

Republican state Senate candidate Dan Stec gives a victory speech to a crowd at the Queensbury Hotel in Glens Falls Tuesday night. (Provided photo — Christopher Lenney, Watertown Daily Times)

Clinton County Treasurer Kimberly Davis on Wednesday said she is proud of the campaign she ran to represent the state’s 45th Senate District and planned to concede the race to her Republican opponent, Assemblyman Dan Stec.

Stec, R-Queensbury, declared victory in the race to succeed the retiring Sen. Betty Little, R-Queensbury, late Tuesday night.

He currently leads by 28,450 votes with all in-person ballots counted, including the thousands that were cast during the state’s early voting period.

Davis said it’s important that all votes are counted but acknowledged Stec’s lead would be too much to overcome.

“We certainly want every vote to be counted, but the numbers are also at this point — the number of absentees out is not going to overcome his lead at this point,” Davis said.

Kimberly Davis (Photo provided)

Stec currently leads Davis 67,281 to 38,831 votes. There are an estimated 26,000 outstanding absentee ballots that need to be counted, making it mathematically impossible for Davis to win, even if she receives every outstanding vote.

Davis said she planned to call Stec to concede the race sometime Wednesday morning.

Davis said it was an honor to be a candidate and to receive the support of so many throughout the sprawling district, which covers all of Warren, Clinton, Essex and Franklin counties and parts of Washington and St. Lawrence counties.

She added that she hopes Stec, who she has accused of “demonizing the left” in the past, will work to represent everyone in the district and help bring about civility.

“I think we need to bring civility back to the political realm because it’s much too divisive, and I hope Mr. Stec will do that,” she said.

Asked about future plans, Davis said she plans to run for a third term as Clinton County treasurer when her term expires next year.

“I have to concentrate on that,” she said.

Stec said every vote would be counted, but the outcome of the contest was known.

“This isn’t a difficult race to call.”

Local boards of elections must first verify in-person voting results before they can begin counting absentee ballots to ensure there are not duplicate votes.

In reflection, Stec said it had been a long, difficult campaign, just as 2020 had been a long, difficult year for everybody.

As a 51-year-old, he added, he was very mindful that just two other people had represented the region in his whole life: Little and the late Sen. Ron Stafford.

“These are two giants of public service that motivate and inspire me to emulate them.”

Stec pointed out that, based on the in-person voting results, he won in all six counties, and contended his was the hardest-working and most-qualified campaign.

In a victory speech held at the Queensbury Hotel in Glens Falls, Stec thanked his supports for trusting him and said there was a lot of work to be done.

“We have a lot of work ahead of us in the months to come, from getting our economy back on track to making our neighborhoods more safe and affordable,” he said.

Stec has represented the 114th Assembly District since 2013 after spending years in Queensbury town government, which included a two-year stint as chairman of the Warren County Board of Supervisors.

He has earned a wide range of endorsements, including one from Little herself.

In an interview with the Post-Star editorial board last month, Stec said he would continue to work across party lines in order to benefit residents of the North Country, but promised not to remain silent when ideas that would negatively impact the district are proposed.

He also touted his years of experience in the Legislature, which he said will allow him to “hit the ground running.”

“The knowledge and the experience and the contacts and the resources and the network from each one of those builds on the next one,” Stec said.

Davis had pointed to her background in finances as something that would give her key insight to the state’s budget process and set her apart from other lawmakers.

She also said it was important for whoever represents the district to have a say in the Senate’s majority. State government has been controlled by Democrats since 2018, when the party took the majority after a decade of being the minority in the Legislature’s upper branch. Since then, a number of high-profile pieces of legislation have been approved, including changes to the state’s cash-bail measures and legislation that would dramatically reduce the state’s reliance on carbon emissions by 2050.

Stec has railed against those policies, which are unlikely to be reserved anytime soon as Democrats seek to obtain a super majority this election, which would allow them to override any veto by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Still, Stec said he has the know-how to get things done.

“My ability to work across the aisle, whether it’s the administration and the commissions and the executive or with my fellow legislators in the Assembly and the Senate, is well demonstrated,” he said.

On Tuesday, several voters said they cast their ballot for Stec because of his years of experience.

“I did vote for Dan Stec because I think he’s been accomplished as an assemblyman,” said Arlene Swan, a Warrensburg voter.

Swan said Stec was a “hometown boy” who will stand up for the district.

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Press-Republican reporter Cara Chapman contributed to this report.

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