NYS Senate Democratic candidate Rachel May with her meal at Our Lady of Pompei annual Election Day spaghetti luncheon at 923 N. McBride St., November 8, 2022. Photo by Mike Greenlar | Central Current.

Democratic incumbent Rachel May has claimed victory in New York’s 48th State Senate District race over Republican challenger Julie Abbott and Conservative Justin Coretti.

May leads the race as of Tuesday at 11 p.m. with 48,526 votes over Abbott’s 42,067 votes garnered so far, according to unofficial results tallied by the Boards of Elections in Cayuga and Onondaga counties.

“If you knew how hard I worked to get to this point. I feel really proud,” May said moments after Central Current called the race in her favor. “I feel super proud of our campaign team. They handled everything, even when I had COVID-19, and have done it all.”

The redrawn 48th State Senate District spans the majority of Onondaga County, including the city of Syracuse and most municipalities to its west and south. The entirety of Cayuga County is also part of the district.

Prior to being rearranged in the spring, the 48th Senate District encompassed the counties of Oswego, St. Lawrence and Jefferson and is represented by outgoing Republican Sen. Patty Ritchie.

May’s prior district, the 43rd Senate District, encompassed most of the city of Syracuse, as well as portions of Madison and Oneida Counties.

Both candidates now await official results as ballots continue to be counted. If results stand, this would be May’s third term in the State Senate, where she has chaired the Senate Committee on Aging and the Legislative Commission on Rural Resources.

48th State Senate District candidate Julie Abbott talks with friends, Kelly Lantry, of Syracuse at left, and Gigi Michel, of Skaneateles at right, at the Republican Watch Party at Embassy Suites on Hiawatha Boulevard West in Syracuse Tuesday night. Abbott lost the race to Rachel May, the incumbent democratic senator. Photo by Michelle Gabel | Central Current

Abbott, a two-term Republican Onondaga County legislator representing the towns of Camillus, Marcellus, Otisco, Skaneateles, and Spafford, ran a pragmatic Republican campaign.

A sticking point of her campaign was her support of people’s rights to have an abortion outside of the third trimester, which is a departure from the party’s national platform. 

In keeping with Republican campaign strategy in statewide races, Abbott criticized the package of criminal justice reforms commonly known as bail reform as measures that make the Empire State unsafe.

Abbott said in a campaign questionnaire prepared by Central Current that Democrats’ overhauls to the bail system, “take tools out of law enforcement and corrections officers’ toolbox to keep us safe.”

May said elected officials should focus on what she called the main drivers of crime: poverty, trauma, substance abuse, and mental illness.

She defended bail reform, noting that incarcerating people without trial on nonviolent charges because they cannot afford bail just worsens those drivers of crime.

She noted on Election Night that the impending arrival of the Micron computer chip manufacturing plant to Central New York has slightly altered her list of priorities.

“I have always been focused on bringing affordable housing, but I think it is a lot more important now,” she said.

The 48th Senate District also features important waterways, including Lake Ontario in northern Cayuga County, and Owasco Lake.

May said the presence of these bodies of water assures she will also prioritize water preservation and management projects.

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