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Democrats Sweep New York's Top Offices

By WBFO News Staff

Buffalo, NY – Democrats have captured all of the statewide offices in New York. Gubernatorial candidate Eliot Spitzer led the way with a convincing victory over Republican John Faso.

Spitzer, who served two terms as state attorney general, returns the governor's office to the Democrats after 12 years in Republican hands. During his acceptance speech at a New York City Hotel, Spitzer said New York's greatest days lie ahead.

In his concession speech in Albany, Faso said he was proud of the campaign he ran and the issues he brought to the forefront -- the need to reduce taxes, restore trust in state government, and revive the upstate economy.

Also cruising to victory Tuesday night was US Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton. She defeated Republican John Spencer. The big win could further boost Clinton's status as the front-runner for her party's 2008 presidential nomination.

New York had several in-play congressional races, and the state could end up the deciding factor in the fight for control of the House of Representatives. Among the notable races:

26th District: Rep. Tom Reynolds struggled to hold onto his seat after becoming ensnared in the congressional page scandal. The race between him and Democratic businessman Jack Davis was the most expensive House campaign in New York history.

29th District: Freshman Republican Randy Kuhl battled Navy veteran and anti-Iraq war candidate Eric Massa in the conservative, rural district that stretches throughout the Southern Tier.

In the 27th congressional district, incumbent Democrat Brian Higgins easily won reelection over Republican Michael McHale by a margin of 82 to 18 percent. Higgins says the balance of power shift to Democrats in the House will pay dividends for our region.

In the 28th district, incumbent Democrat Louise Slaughter held off John Donnelly by a 72 to 28 percent margin.

In county wide races, incumbent David Swarts was part of the Democratic surge last night, winning another term as county clerk, by a 71 to 29 percent margin over challenger Shelly Schratz. Swarts had praise for Erie County Democratic chairman Len Lenihan.

The margin was similar for Michael D'Amico's victory for Erie County judge over Republican challenger Douglas Marky.

Erie County Proposition One was approved by a nearly four to one margin. The proposition calls for significant changes to the county charter, changes that Legislature chairwoman Lynn Marinelli has been working toward for a long time.

Nearly 80 percent of Buffalo voters approved a proposition intended to create a more open process for appointing someone to serve out the unexpired term of a Common Council member. The new law requires the city to advertise the vacancy for at least five days, and to accept resumes from any candidate who applies.

Town of Tonawanda voters approved a proposition to eliminate two seats on their town board. The proposal to cut the Town Board from six seats to four passed with nearly 80 percent of the vote. Three of the six current members are up for election next year; only one of those seats will be filled.