HUDSON VALLEY, N.Y. - Thousands of votes remain uncounted, but with absentee ballots trending heavily in state Sen. Peter Harckham's favor, the incumbent Democrat has declared victory over Republican challenger, Rob Astorino, in the race for the 40th State Senate District.

On Election Day, with only in-person ballots counted, Harckham, who won a first term in 2018, trailed by about 8,000 votes in his bid for re-election. Absentee ballots in Dutchess and Putnam counties cut the lead to about 6,000 before the Westchester absentee ballots were counted. As of Tuesday morning, Harckham trailed Astorino by about 500 votes with about 15,000 votes yet to be counted in Westchester, where the incumbent has been winning absentees by about a 3-to-1 margin.

“I am humbled and grateful for all of the tremendous support I have received during this campaign, and thank all of the voters in Senate District 40 for participating in this historic election,” Harckham said in a press release. “The confidence and trust that residents have placed in me once again will continue to guide my intentions. These are challenging times, though, and I look forward to being engaged in the hard work necessary to ensure a better future for all.”

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Astorino, a former Westchester County executive and one-time New York gubernatorial candidate, called Harckham to concede the race.

“Mr. Astorino called Senator Harckham this morning to congratulate him on his victory and to offer him his support in any way,” said William O’Reilly, a spokesman for Astorino. “This was a close, close race, but we respect the will of the voters and wish Senator Harckham the best in his new term.”