One of the most closely watched races in New York State came to an end Monday morning as incumbent Republican state Sen. Marty Golden conceded the contest to Democratic challenger Andrew Gounardes, nearly two weeks after Election Day in Southwest Brooklyn’s 22nd Senate District.
“As the Board of Elections completes its final count of this year’s close election, I congratulate Andrew Gounardes and wish him well in his service to the people of the 22nd State Senate District,” Golden said in a statement.
At press time, the Board of Election was still counting absentee ballots, a process that began on Nov. 16, but with most of the ballots counted, Gounardes maintained a lead of more than 1,000 votes over Golden with a dwindling few election district left to count.
Golden realized he was running out of room to make up the difference in a vote count and decided to concede, a source told this newspaper.
The lawmaker, who was trailing by more than 1,000 on Election Night, Nov. 6, had previously refused to concede, opting instead to wait until all of the paper ballots were counted.
The 22nd Senate District, which Golden, a retired police officer, has represented since first winning election in 2002, takes in all or parts of several Southwest Brooklyn neighborhoods, including Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Bensonhurst, Bath Beach, Gravesend, Marine Park and Gerritsen Beach.
Gounardes, chief counsel to Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, released a statement soon afternoon Golden conceded.
“I look forward to coordinating with Senator Golden on a smooth transition between now and January so that our community can come together and move forward,” the statement read in part.
For Golden, the concession was an admission that his 21-year-long career in public service was over. Prior to winning election to the State Senate, Golden served as a City Council member from 1997 to 2002.
In his statement, Golden took the opportunity to reflect on his life in politics.
“On many levels, I am so proud of what I have accomplished for my city, my state and the neighbors I have been honored to represent. I fully embraced the awesome responsibility entrusted by the people who elected me. I strove each and everyday to make a positive difference for someone,” he said.
“Although we came up just short this election, I am grateful my career in public service has been full of much success as a police officer and as an elected official. As I think of the future, my supporters, neighbors and friends can be sure that I will still always look for opportunities to make our neighborhoods an even better place to live, work and raise a family,” Golden stated.
Gounardes, who will take office in early January, is looking ahead to starting his new life as an elected official.
“Now that the election is over, I am grateful to people of Southern Brooklyn for their support and humbled by their trust in me to be our community’s voice in Albany. I look forward to going to Albany to fight for affordable health care, a livable wage, a world-class education system, pedestrian safety, an MTA that is reliable, accessible and accountable to all, and equal protections for all of our citizens,” he said in his statement.
The victorious Gounardes also hinted that he doesn’t intend to waste any time.
“In the days since the election, my team and I have worked closely with Democratic leadership and my colleagues in the State Senate to ensure that I’m ready to hit the ground running,” he stated.