NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand won a full six-year term in office Tuesday night, defeating Republican Wendy Long.
Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) was appointed to the seat by former Gov. David Paterson in 2009, when President Barack Obama nominated sitting Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton for U.S. Secretary of State.
Gillibrand went on to win a special election in 2010.
CBS 2 political reporter Marcia Kramer reported that when Gillibrand was projected the winner, the crowd went wild at New York Democratic headquarters, at the Sheraton at 326 W. 40th St. in Midtown, with many putting their thumbs up and saying, “Yes! Yes!”
1010 WINS’ Stan Brooks reports
They also cheered at the announcement that Obama had been projected to win the state of New York.
As Gillibrand later addressed the supporters, she praised New Yorkers’ resilient spirit – particularly after Superstorm Sandy.
“New Yorkers, as you know, you are resilient. We bend, but we do not break. When we get knocked down, we get right back up again. We saw this after 9/11. We saw it again in upstate after Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Eve, and as we speak thousands and thousands of neighbors are coming together – extraordinary people doing extraordinary things,” she said.
Gillibrand also noted that her race with Long was the first campaign ever in New York when two women ran for Senate.
“We need to make sure this was not the exception, not the rule,” she said.
But Kramer reported when Gillibrand won, the ongoing drama surrounding who will be in White House remained to be decided.
“The results of this election will shape whether we are going forwards, or whether we are going backwards,” Gillibrand said.
Some New York state lawmakers predicted a long night ahead.
“I think it’s going to be a long night, and I think we’re going to be up all night. It will probably be days before it’s all settled.”
“Hopefully, even though it’s a long night, every vote will be counted, and the president’s going to come out in the majority.”
Democrats at the rally upported Obama for a variety of reasons.
“One of the biggest issues for me was actually women’s rights. I have four sisters, and that was a big deal for me when I went out to the polls today,” one man said.
“For me, it’s the issue of gay marriage,” a woman said. “A lot of people close to me – I would like to go to their weddings. That’s why I voted for Obama.”
“Immigration. Being an immigrant, immigration plays a big role. I’m a Latino immigrant, and the DREAM Act, what he did for a lot of immigrant students who study in this country, so I think he did something a lot of people were waiting for, and I think that’s what made him gain a lot of support from the immigrant community,” another man said.
In office, Gillibrand has gained notoriety for successfully backing the repeal of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy on gays and lesbians in the U.S. Armed Forces, as well as backing the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compassion Act.
Challenger Long is a New Hampshire native and an attorney in Manhattan, who had never held elected office.
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