State Senator Andrew Gounardes Declares Victory in Tough Reelection Battle

State Senator Andrew Gounardes Declares Victory in Tough Reelection Battle
Andrew Gounardes. (Photo: Zainab Iqbal/Bklyner)

State Senator Andrew Gounardes declared victory Wednesday afternoon in his fight for reelection to New York’s 22nd State Senate District.

In doing so, Gounardes fended off a strong challenge from Republican Vito Bruno, a former nightclub owner who criticized Gounardes’ record on criminal justice reform and support for the police.

Bruno had declared victory on election night, when he held a 6,000 vote lead over Gounardes. But by the time the Board of Elections finished processing the district’s 20,000 absentee ballots on the afternoon of November 18th, Gounardes had pulled ahead by about 1,800 votes.

In a press release announcing the victory, Gounardes said it was “the honor of my life to serve my community.”

“I am enormously grateful to the neighborhoods of southern Brooklyn for reelecting me to represent them in the State Senate,” the statement continued. “I will go back to Albany and continue to fight for our community while always remembering the values we share together: to help our neighbors in need and do what is right no matter what.”

The press release also included a statement from fellow Democrat and Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, who congratulated Gounardes on his reelection.

“During his first term in the Senate, as a member of the new Democratic Majority, Andrew has been a strong advocate for his constituents and their priorities,” Stewart-Cousins said. “Since first joining the Senate in 2018, Senator Gounardes has been a leader in advancing legislation for safer streets in school-zones and across all our communities. Andrew has also been passionate about ensuring New York first responders, their families receive the support, and compensation they deserve, especially those who served in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks. I thank the voters of the 22nd Senate District for returning Andrew Gounardes to the Senate Democratic Majority so that he can continue fighting for his communities and moving our state forward.”

As of press time, Bruno had not conceded, or issued a response to Gounardes declaration.

Gounardes was first elected in 2018, defeating long-time Republican incumbent Marty Golden in the 22nd State Senate District, which includes Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Bensonhurst, Bath Beach, Gravesend, Gerritsen Beach, Manhattan Beach, and Marine Park.

Since then, Gounardes has been a reliably liberal voice in a decidedly moderate district. His support in 2018 of a law that reformed the state’s bail system earned him Bruno’s ire, who accused Gounardes of being soft on crime and insufficiently supportive of the NYPD.

Gounardes, who has also focused on issues like traffic safety and property taxes, pushed back on Bruno’s characterization, citing a bill he sponsored to ensure line of duty benefits for the families of public workers killed by the coronavirus.

The battle for the State Senate seat was one of several close races in southern Brooklyn this cycle. State Assemblymember defeated freshman Congressman Max Rose in his fight for reelection to New York’s 11th congressional district, while the race for State Assembly District 46, between Democratic incumbent Mathylde Frontus and Republican challenger Mark Szuszkiewicz, is still too close to call. Both districts overlap with Gounardes’ seat.