New High Water Mark for WFP as Vote Total Surpasses 241K

Amid Push to Win the State Senate, WFP Voters Surge Upstate
Party Provides Margin of Victory in State Senate Races

For more information contact:
Joe Dinkin at (718) 222-3796 x 217 or at jdinkin[at]workingfamilies.org

NEW YORK — As New York State certifies the results from November’s election, one number stands out: 241,531. That’s the number of New Yorkers who voted for Senator Kirsten Gillibrand on the Working Families Party ballot line, a record for the party.

The party’s record-setting vote total — up nearly 60,000 over 2008’s US Senate race — comes despite significantly lower turnout across the state caused by Hurricane Sandy. The growth came mainly in Upstate New York, where the party was involved in a concerted effort to take back the State Senate.

“Each vote on the Working Families Party line shows that in New York, people-power can still trump big money,” said Working Families Party Executive Director Dan Cantor. “Across the state, our activists and volunteers made the case for our values – making sure our economy and our democracy work for everyone, not just the wealthy and well connected. These results prove that people are listening.”

The result made the Working Families Party the leading third party vote-earner in the states’ US Senate race. Across Upstate New York, 7% of the votes cast for Senator Gillibrand were cast on the Working Families Party ballot line.

“I have worked hard in Congress to fight for New York’s middle class families and give them a voice in Congress,” said Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. “The Working Families Party tirelessly stands up for these same values and that’s why on Election Day hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers showed their support at the ballot box.”

In addition to the US Senate race, the Working Families Party also had helped elect a majority of Democrat-Working Families State Senators for only the second time since 1965.

Working Families Party voters played a crucial role in each State Senate pick-up.

In the state’s tightest Senate race between Cecilia Tkaczyk and George Amedore, where a still-unresolved legal battle will determine the winner, votes on the WFP line stand to make the difference for Tkaczyk.

“I went into the race as a huge underdog,” said Cecilia Tkaczyk. “But two things gave me a fighting chance: my principled stand against the corrupting influence of big money in politics and the critical backing of the Working Families Party.”

In Terry Gipson’s upset win in the Hudson Valley, WFP voters far exceeded the margin of victory. In Ted O’Brien’s win in Rochester, the WFP voters accounted for nearly the entire margin of victory.

WFP voters also appear to have provided the margin of victory for D/WF candidates in two congressional races: for Rep. Bill Owens in the North Country and for Sean Patrick Maloney in the Hudson Valley, where the vote tallies remain incomplete.

The party plans to spend the next year pushing for public financing of elections, and for increasing the minimum wage and tying it to inflation.

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