Democratic NY state Sen. Tim Kennedy wins special US House race in Buffalo

Tim Kennedy, a Democrat and longtime New York state senator, handily won a special election to represent a deep-blue Buffalo-area House of Representatives district.

Kennedy captured about 68% of the vote in incomplete election results published by the state Board of Elections. His Republican rival, Gary Dickson, picked up about 32% of the vote, the results showed.

“Oh baby!” Kennedy, 47, told supporters as he basked in his win Tuesday night. “Thank you, Western New York — what a resounding victory.”

The win by Kennedy cements Democratic control of New York’s 26th Congressional District. The area’s former Democratic congressman, Brian Higgins, resigned in February and moved on to a job leading a Buffalo theater.

The 26th District runs north from Buffalo up to Niagara Falls.

Kennedy’s elevation continues the troubles of House Speaker Mike Johnson, the Louisiana Republican who is presiding over a fractured GOP caucus in a nearly split chamber.

Kennedy said his victory brings America “one step closer to preserving democracy” and “one vote closer to a Democratic majority in the the House of Representatives.”

It was not immediately clear when Kennedy, who joined the state Senate in 2011 and is known as a strong fund-raiser, would be sworn into Congress.

As a state lawmaker, he was heavily focused on transportation. His congressional campaign platform centered on support for reproductive rights and gun control.

Gov. Kathy Hochul, a moderate Democrat from Buffalo who once served in the House, celebrated Kennedy’s victory.

“Congratulations, Congressman-Elect Tim Kennedy!” the governor said in a statement on social media Wednesday morning. “Tim is a dedicated public servant who will fight for the needs of Western New Yorkers. NY-26 will always be home, and I’m proud to have strong Democratic leadership in Congress.”