Republican New York State Assemblyman Phil Boyle celebrated his state Senate victory just before midnight Tuesday over Democrat Rick Montano, wearing a wide grin as he enjoyed nearly a minute of applause from a packed room in Patchogue.
Boyle won the hotly contested New York State Senate race by a nearly 7-percent margin with all but eight districts reporting. The victory means the seat will remain in GOP control after state Sen. Owen Johnson announced he was retiring after four decades in public office.
“I want to thank everyone for all the hard work you did,” said Boyle, as his supporters cheered, pumped their fists in the air and whistled in excitement.
Boyle entered the stage to Jay Z’s hit song “Empire State of Mind,” though he quickly turned the attention to his Long Island district, which consists of many residents impacted by Superstorm Sandy.
Despite the big victory and ensuing celebration, Boyle managed to keep the attention on those affected by the killer storm.
“There are a lot of people out there hurting,” he said. “We can have a good time tonight but first thing in the morning we’re going to roll up our sleeves and get to work.”
“I feel very fortunate,” Boyle said afterward. “We had so many people volunteering on the campaign, we had a very broad spectrum of support: from conservatives to independents to Republicans and Democrats, we worked really hard.”
Meanwhile, Montano remained very confident until there were only 50 districts left and he was down by almost 10,000 votes, eventually realizing the difference was too vast to make up. The longtime Suffolk County legislator told the Press in his campaign suite that the other side ran a very “dirty campaign” and alleged that there were mailings targeting people in Wyandanch that were overtly racist.
Montano’s camp charged that the mailings cited Legis. DuWayne Gregory without his knowledge or permission and alleged that Montano was not a real Democrat because he had supported one of Gregory’s opponents in a previous campaign. Gregory told the Press that his aide’s mother in Wyandanch got this mailing, and that he was appalled and angry about it.
The Suffolk Democratic Chairman Rich Shaffer told the Press he had heard about the mailing but couldn’t refute it in time, adding that he felt the race had been frozen since right before the storm hit Long Island, and it was frozen in Boyle’s favor. Additionally, he said Boyle had outspent Montano by $500,000, which is a steep gap to overcome.
Boyle had a different take on the campaign.
“My opponent and I got along,” he said.
Boyle added that he was ready to move on and get to work for his constituents, especially those hurt by Hurricane Sandy.
He said he would “make sure people that suffered losses are completely compensated by insurance companies.”