Republican Peter Oberacker is leading the race for the 51st Senate seat. Oberacker was endorsed by outgoing Sen. Jim Seward that announced his retirement earlier this year. Oberacker's opponent Democrat Jim Barber is from Schoharie County.
Oberacker is currently leading in every county of the district except for parts of Tomkins and Ulster County. Both candidates would fill a seat that hasn't been vacant for around 40years. Both candidates plan on bringing their professional backgrounds to the job. Jim Barber has been a farmer all his life. Barber said he hopes he can be the voice for farmers in Albany, a voice he said Albany has been missing.
Oberacker is a businessman. He plans on taking his business background and using that to try and boost our area's economy.
The economy of Herkimer and Otsego Counties is focused highly on agriculture. Both candidates agree that building up that economy is critical.
Both candidates also believe addressing the impact of COVID-19 on our area is also crucial. Both said opening the economy should be done in a safe way.
In terms of other area's candidates wished to focus on, Oberocker wants to address bail reform legislation. He said the bill has fallen short of what it was expected to do and hopes to change the legislation to make it successful.
Barber hopes to work with farmers and address our area's impact on the climate. He said by working with farmers we can find ways to have cleaner water and more fertile soil.
Barber also hopes to address our state taxes. He said compared to larger corporations ordinary people pay much more in taxes. If elected he hopes to address the issue.
When the numbers came in, Oberacker was leading Barber in the race by close to 20,000 votes. As absentee ballots have still not been counted in their entirety, both said this race is far from over.
"We are cautiously optimistic, happy if you will. I think as all the other numbers come in, I think at the end of the evening we will all be in a good spot," said Oberacker.
"We're going to be very competitive and we will see how it goes. I think it's important that every vote is counted. Everyone deserves to have their vote counted and that's what we wanna focus on," said Barber.
Absentee ballots are still coming in, and must be counted before any election results are official. In New York, absentee ballots must be postmarked by Nov. 3 and received by the state by Nov. 10 to count.