GOP State Senators Who Supported Gay Marriage in Primary Cliffhangers

Two New York Republican state senators who supported gay marriage last year are in virtual ties with their GOP opponents in vote counts from Thursday's primaries. 

State Senator Roy McDonald, from the Saratoga Springs area, and State Senator Stephen Saland, from Poughkeepsie, are ahead of their respective opponents by fewer than 100 votes each, according to Associated Press tallies. The outcomes of those primaries now depend on absentee ballots and certification of numbers reported election night.

In a moment of high drama in June 2011, Saland, McDonald, Mark Grisanti of Buffalo and a fourth Republican, who retired, joined Democrats and Governor Andrew Cuomo in legalizing gay marriage in New York state, making New York the largest state in the nation to support gay marriage. 

Gay marriage opponents, including the state conservative party, vowed electoral retribution, and primary election results suggested they may have achieved that aim.  McDonald, running against Saratoga County clerk Kathleen Marchione, was considered the more vulnerable, but Saland’s near-loss surprised the political establishment, which generally considered the incumbent, who has served more than two decades, safe.

Saland is from the Hudson Valley, an area generally considered fiscally conservative but socially liberal.

New York State Public Radio's Karen DeWitt discussed the tight election results with WNYC's Amy Eddings.