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Volker and Konst Vying for 59th NY Senate Seat

By Joyce Kryszak


Buffalo, NY – There are seven close Senate races statewide that could tip the Senate's leadership to the Democrats. In the 59th district, Republican incumbent Dale Volker hopes to fend off a challenge by Democratic candidate, Kathy Konst, an Erie County legislator.

The incumbent has spent nearly three and half decades in the Senate. And as one of its longest tenured members Volker has moved up the ranks. He is chair of the Codes Committee and sits on several other influential committees. But if Republicans lose control of the Senate, those leadership positions would be gone. Political observers say that would shift power to the downstate Democrats. And Republicans argue that is reason enough to re-elect Volker. His opponent disagrees.

Konst says lawmakers need to work across party line for the benefit of the whole state.

Konst won her party's nomination largely because of her reputation as a reformer in the county legislature. But during the campaign, that reputation has taken a beating. Ads have attacked Konst on everything from her husband's bankruptcy to claims that she double voted on the same day in two different states. Konst called the last claim, ludicrous. As for her family's financial troubles? Konst said the experience has prepared her for the state's tough economic times.

But Konst's independence also has been called into question. Her campaign accepted money from Thomas Golisano's group Responsible New York. Konst said she has no problem with that.

The money has done little to help Konst so far. A new Sienna Research poll shows Volker leading Konst by 11 points. That is a three point slide from a few weeks ago. Critics say he has not done enough for upstate, and that he spends too much - nearly a million dollars a year - to run his offices.

WBFO made several requests to Senator Volker to be interviewed for this story, but he did not respond.

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