Student voters impact pivotal local elections

In the shadow of the historic presidential election outcome, candidates in local elections are declaring victories and preparing to take office.

In an election that drew national media attention, Republican Christopher Lee defeated Democrat Alice Kryzan for the 26th Congressional district with 55 percent of the vote. Democrat Jon Powers, who lost to Kryzan in the September primary, appeared on the ballot for the Working Families party but did not actively campaign. Lee's victory enables Republicans to retain the seat as he succeeds Tom Reynolds.

It was a close race between the two major party's relatively unknown candidates. "Neither of them have any political experience," said senior Ben DeGeorge. "Kryzan had experience in law, which is pretty valuable, and Lee had experience as a business executive. I just hope that Lee does some positive things for Western New York."

Lee's time in office could be short-lived. The 26th district may be non-existent by the next election year due to population decline and redistricting.

Despite her defeat, Kryzan won with 2006 votes to Lee's 1529 in the Town of Geneseo, where nearly 80% of voters showed up to the polls.

The race for the 29th Congressional district between Democrat Eric Massa and Republican incumbent Randy Kuhl remains undecided. Roughly 11,500 absentee ballots will remain uncounted until a court order next week determines how the tabulation will take place. Kuhl would need about 70 percent of the remaining votes to overcome Massa's lead.

Democrat Daniel Maffei defeated Republican candidate Dale Sweetland in the 25th Congressional district, while Democratic incumbent Louise Slaughter overwhelmingly conquered Republican David Crimmen for the 28th district.

Republican incumbent Dale Volker defeated Democrat Kathy Konst for the 59th State Senate District, a predominantly Republican constituency.

"It's very challenging to beat an incumbent who has actually done a lot for the district," said DeGeorge of that particular contest.

Republican Joseph Robach retained his seat in the 56th State Senate District despite the fact that Democrats outnumber Republicans in the district by about 40,000. Opponent Richard Dollinger, Democrat, was attempting to regain the seat he stepped down from in 2002 after 10 years in the Senate.

Republican Daniel Burling won a landslide victory over Phil Jones for the New York State Assembly 147th district, which includes Livingston County.

Senior Fiona Murray said she believes that students made an impact in the local election.

"It was really nice to see that some students took it upon themselves to educate themselves about the local races, especially the Congressional races," Murray said. "I think because it was a presidential year, many of the [local] candidates got a boost from the number of students voting."

Murray hopes that students will not lose interest in local politics in the wake of such a momentous election year. "I just hope that it won't stop after Nov. 5, and that young people continue to be politically aware."