New York Democrats flipped a safe Republican New York State Assembly seat Tuesday that had been in GOP control for nearly 40 years.
Steve Stern, a former Suffolk County legislator who ran as the Democrat candidate, defeated Republican candidate and civil litigator Janet Smitelli in the race to represent the 10th Assembly District in Long Island.
The district had been in Republican hands since 1978.
Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and former President Barack Obama carried the district in the 2016 and 2012 elections, and voter registration in the state shows more Democrats are registered to vote in the district than Republicans.
The Albany Times Union reported that Democrats had 6,000 more registered voters in the district than Republicans. In 2016, the Democrat candidate for New York Assembly in the 10th Assembly District lost by 9,000 votes.
Two big labor unions—the New York AFL-CIO and New York State United Teachers (NYSUT)—backed Stern’s candidacy, which Stern’s campaign claimed caused higher turnout in a special election.