Staten Island's Incumbents In State Senate Cruise To Victory

Diane J. Savino

November 05, 2008

Staten Island AdvanceThe night's largest margin of victory was enjoyed by State Sen. Diane Savino (D-North Shore/Brooklyn), who scored 78 percent of the vote.

Democrats may have seized the state Senate last night, ending four decades of Republican rule, but when it came to the local races, it was a mixed bag that went to the incumbents.

Senators Andrew Lanza (R-Staten Island) and Diane Savino (D-Staten Island/Brooklyn) held onto their seats with landslide victories in their respective races.

Lanza garnered 71,097 votes, for 71 percent of the electorate, while his Democrat opponent, Joseph Pancila, garnered 29,154, or 29 percent. Sen. Savino earned 42,333 votes, or 78 percent, compared to 11,939 votes, or 22 percent, for Republican Richard Thomas.

Check out photo galleries from both the Republican and Democratic election night celebrations on Staten Island.

Afterwards, both spoke about the spirit of cooperation that will be necessary to break Albany's gridlock, and tackle the worst fiscal crisis the state has seen since the mid-1970s. Governor David Paterson called a special session of the Legislature for November 18 to help close an estimated $1.5 billion budget shortfall for the current fiscal year and get an early start on next years budget.

"A lot of people in politics like to talk about who is to blame for this or that. I think that does the people a great disservice," Lanza said. "We have to get things done, and I believe my colleagues and I can do that."

Sen. Savino, who was elected to her first term in 2004, spoke about a broad agenda of job creation, education aide reform and middle class tax cuts for her second four years. She said the state legislature needs to change its borrow and spend mentality.

"It's not going to be easy. It's going to require cooperation with the Republicans in the Senate and the Assembly," Sen. Savino added.

Democrats came into the night needing to pick up just two seats to take the Senate majority for the first time since 1965, and take control of the entire state government for the first time since 1935. By midnight, they had won at least 32 seats in the 62-seat chamber. They trailed 31 to 29 with two vacancies going into yesterdays election.

Sen. Savino, who was celebrating the victory last night with her colleagues, said they turned the Democratic Presidential slogan Yes, We Can into Yes, We Did.

"It's a whole new Albany. And when the Senate changes, the Assembly will follow," she said.