It was a weird night to cap a weird primary election season.
In unofficial results, Democratic Assembly member Harry Bronson beat back a fierce challenge from Rachel Barnhart, a well-known former television news reporter and anchor, for the 138th District seat. Bronson pulled in around 55 percent of the vote to Barnhart's 45 percent. Those numbers are based on the 4,949 votes cast at the polls; Bronson also pulled in more absentee ballot votes than Barnhart.
The race was rocky from the start: supporters of both candidates sparred online and in the campaign's final days, and the candidates themselves made aggressive attacks on each other. Barnhart put Bronson on the defensive early, painting him as an ineffective legislator with few accomplishments to his name. Bronson responded by emphasizing his role in passing marriage equality, a minimum-wage boost, and paid family leave legislation, as well as a few of his own bills.
The dynamic was a little different in the Republican primary for the same seat. Peter Vazquez, an anti-establishment candidate who is making his third try for the seat, edged out the party's endorsed candidate, Bob Zinck. Vazquez essentially hasn't stopped running since his last campaign, and that may have paid off for him. His outsider status may have also helped.
The death of incumbent Bill Nojay last week complicated the Republican primary in the 133rd Assembly District. Nojay's challenger, Honeoye Falls Mayor Rick Milne, won Monroe County but trailed when votes from Livingston and Steuben counties were added. Nojay pulled in around 60 percent of the vote while Milne received approximately 39 percent.
Republican leaders from the three counties in the district now have to pick someone to replace Nojay in the November general election.
In the 54th Senate District Republican primary, Canandaigua Supervisor Pam Helming rose to the top of a crowded field. She beat out businessman Floyd Rayburn, Lyons Supervisor Brian Manktelow, retired police officer Jon Ritter, and former State Assembly member Sean Hanna. The district covers Wayne, Cayuga, and Seneca counties, part of Ontario County, and the Town of Webster.
This post was updated at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, September 14.