Democratic incumbent Assemblyman Bob Reilly survived the Republican-backed campaign of Paulette Barlette for the 109th Assembly District.
Reilly defeated Barlette, an Albany County legislator, 30,793 votes to 18,610.
Reilly was one of many Democrats to capitalize on Democratic Governor-elect Eliot Spitzer's sweep through the traditionally Republican towns of the 109th Assembly District. And the win, many Democrats have said, is representative of an overall disagreement with Republican national policy -- most notably the war in Iraq.
However, Reilly contributes his win in the Republican stronghold to his policies on local issues.
"It's not so much Democrat or Republican. It's really that people wanted issues to be addressed," said Reilly from his home Wednesday morning. "To win as a Democrat in Republican-held towns, you know people are really electing you and not just voting along party lines."
The district includes the towns of Clifton Park, Halfmoon and Colonie.
Reilly knew his chances were good after canvassing the district door-to-door to gauge public opinion on a number of issues both local and state, he said. He expected to get about 60 percent of the votes, but the 62 percent confirms that people of both parties want change, he said.
The race for the 109th was often wrought with character accusations. Barlette, a conservative who ran on a platform of tougher penalties on sex offenders, attacked Reilly's record in the Assembly and pinned him as one of many state Democrats who repeatedly blocked Republican attempts to strengthen public policy. State Republicans went so far as to portray Reilly's lack of action in mailings by rekindling a 1999 rape that allegedly occurred at an Albany bar formerly owned by Reilly. The mailings, backed by $13,000 from Barlette's campaign, alleged a "consistent pattern of illegal" and -" often violent, criminal activity" at the bar.
Despite her defeat, Barlette stands by her campaign, and said she does not regret any of it. The core of the race was the issues and not politics, she said. However, the 109th Assembly District is changing and this election shows that, she said.