Gounardes defeats Golden after tight campaign

Gounardes defeats Golden after tight campaign
Victory: Democrat Andrew Gounardes claimed vicory in an upset win over eight-term incumbent state Sen. Marty Golden on Nov. 6.
Photo by Trey Pentecost

The Golden era has come to an end.

Democrat Andrew Gounardes scored an upset victory in a tight race against eight-term incumbent state Sen. Marty Golden (R–Bay Ridge), winning by more than 1,100 votes to represent the 22nd state Senate district, which includes Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Bensonhurst, Marine Park, Gerritsen Beach, Gravesend, and parts of Sheepshead Bay, Borough Park, and Midwood.

Following his victory, Gounardes thanked his volunteers for helping to bring the district’s diverse constituents to the polls to defeat the longtime incumbent.

“We built the strongest, most diverse coalition ever assembled in Southern Brooklyn to take on Marty Golden, and together we made this victory possible,” he said in a statement.

The born-and-bred Ridgite won the race with 31,168 votes to Golden’s 30,039, according to the state Board of Elections.

But Golden refused to concede, according to his campaign spokesman, who said that the pol was waiting to make sure all votes were counted.

“Senator Golden is not conceding, as we are assessing the ballot situation — machine and absentee — to ensure that every vote is counted,” said Michael Tobman.

Gounardes nabbed his first victory in the race when he beat journalist Ross Barkan in the September Democratic primary, and received the backing of Gov. Cuomo, borough Democratic Party boss Frank Seddio, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand — and actor Ben Stiller, who went door-to-door with the candidate on Monday — in his bid to unseat Golden.

This was Gounardes’s second attempt at ousting Golden, after he lost his first race against the incumbent by 10,300 votes in 2012.

The newly minted pol most recently worked as Counsel to Borough President Adams, and previously worked as an aide to former Ridge councilman Vincent Gentile and Democratic New Jersey Sen. Bob Mendendez.

The race was contentious, with the candidates sparring — and sometimes screaming — over their divergent visions for the district. But on election night, Gounardes thanked Golden for his more than 20 years of public service — first as a police officer, and then as a Ridge councilman, before his 16-year reign in the upper chamber.

“I want to thank Marty Golden for his years of public service, not only as an elected official but also for his years as a police officer,” Gounardes said. “Despite our differences we both agree that public service is truly a privilege.”

Reach reporter Julianne McShane at (718) 260–2523 or by e-mail at jmcshane@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @juliannemcshane.

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