On Tuesday, Canandaigua Supervisor Pam Helming became the next New York State Senator representing the 54th District.
Succeeding longtime New York State Senator Michael Nozzolio, who was overwhelmingly supported for more than three decades — representing the Finger Lakes, and even becoming known as the ‘State Senator of the Finger Lakes’ — will be a daunting task.
Helming defeated her two challengers, which leave a sizable divide within the district, even as the results on paper were convincing. Rose Supervisor Kenan Baldridge, a Democrat, as well as Reform Party candidate and Ontario County businessman Floyd Rayburn could not keep up with the stronghold that Helming’s Republican support provided.
Helming received 69,331 votes, or 55.86 percent of ballots cast compared to Baldridge’s 37,341 votes, or 30.86 percent of ballots. Rayburn, who struggled with name recognition after nearly winning the Republican Primary, which was held in September.
In that contest, Helming edged out Rayburn to have her name on the Republican Party line on Tuesday’s ballot by less than 300 votes. That hotly contest race, though, which some believed would translate into an epic second fight on November 8th simply did not materialize.
As results began coming in Helming called into FingerLakes1.com’s Election Night Live coverage, where she discussed her hopes for the coming days, as well as gave thanks to those who voted for her. “I’m just happy to have the opportunity to represent the 54th District,” Helming explained after.
In a statement that evening, Helming discussed what the past several months had been like – as she campaigned to win an ultra-competitive seat in State Senate.
“Over the past seven months I have knocked on thousands of doors and visited with residents, community leaders and small business owners. There are numerous issues facing our state and region and I have listened carefully to the concerns of those in our vast six county district.”
She continued pointing out that her team has much to do to deliver and ultimately earn the confidence of those who voted for her on Tuesday.
“I also want to personally thank the tireless advocates, supporters and volunteers in each of the six counties who dedicated their time and efforts to assist our campaign. I am eternally grateful for all those who helped get us to where we are today and I look forward to representing your interests in Albany.”
Helming discussed how her team in Canandaigua would move forward after her election. She is currently serving as supervisor in the Town of Canandaigua. Helming said that she believes the Town will have a well-established plan in place by January 1st, which will allow them to move forward.
While expectations will be difficult to gauge, Helming said that her first goal in office is to ensure that “Our Upstate way of life” is preserved. She continued, “Tonight the voters sent a clear message that they want a strong, common sense conservative to fight to clean up Albany and make our region a better place to live, work and raise a family.”
Baldridge blamed the “Trump Effect” on the election results in the 54th District. In a statement Wednesday he said that he regretted not receiving enough votes to carry the district.
Helming will take office in January and will spend the next several weeks transitioning from Canandaigua Town Supervisor to New York State Senator.
Early in Helming’s campaign she appeared on Inside the FLX with Josh Durso to discuss some of her goals in running for State Senate.