Jeremy Cooney becomes second Indian American to enter New York State Senate

Jeremy Cooney
Jeremy Cooney, image via Facebook

Sen. Kevin Thomas declares victory after absentee ballots put him on top.

Indian American Jeremy Cooney has been elected to the New York State Senate from the state’s open 56th district.

Cooney, a Democrat, had a lead of fewer than 900 votes over his Republican rival Mike Barry on the night of November 3.  After the absentee and military ballots were counted that lead has been swelled to close to 14,500 votes.

According to the New York Times, Cooney received 56 percent of the votes, while Barry got 44 percent.

“We knew that we would do really well in the absentee count, and the results showed we were up by 10 points,” the local ABC affiliate WHAM quoted Cooney as saying.

RELATED: Meet Jeremy Cooney

According to the news outlet, Barry conceded the race on Wednesday on a live Facebook video post. “We came up short at the end, but I am proud of the race that we ran,” he said.

In a tweet, Cooney thanked the district’s voters. “With absentee ballots now counted in Monroe County, our campaign has significantly increased its lead to over 14,000 votes. I’m grateful to the residents of the 56th District (Rochester) for selecting me to serve as their next State Senator. #ROC”

It was the second time Cooney was running for the district. In his first attempt in 2018, he lost to the incumbent Sen. Joseph Robach, who has announced his retirement at the end of the current term.

The Democrat tweeted on Wednesday morning: “After first running in 2018, we successfully flipped this seat from “red-to-blue” for the first time in 20 years, ensuring representation for Rochester in the Senate Democratic Majority. We will work to create upstate jobs, fully fund our schools, and lower healthcare costs.”

The 56th district includes the County of Monroe and parts of the City of Rochester.

Cooney, an experienced upstate political operative, was adopted by the late Anne Cooney, an English professor at Monroe Community College, more than three decades ago.

Fellow Democrat Kevin Thomas is currently ahead of his Republican Dennis Dunne by 2 percentage points in the state’s 6th district. After absentee ballots put him on top, Thomas declared victory on Monday.

Thomas became the first Indian American to get elected to the New York Senate when he won in 2018.

Cooney is the first Asian American to be elected to state office from upstate New York.

On Wednesday, Thomas congratulated Cooney on his victory.

“I am thrilled to congratulate Senator-elect Jeremy Cooney on his victory,” he said in a press release issued on Wednesday. “This election cycle holds special significance for our Indian American community. In addition to electing Kamala Harris as the first woman, the first African American and the first Indian American to serve as Vice President, we saw unprecedented numbers of South Asian candidates running for office across New York, and record voter turnout from the South Asian community. This is a profound and inspirational moment for the Indian American community, both in New York and across the United States.”

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