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Lea Webb wins Democratic primary in 52nd state Senate District

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Lea Webb will advance to the general election in the race to represent Ithaca, Binghamton and Cortland in New York's 52nd state Senate District.

Webb, a former Binghamton council member, defeated Ithaca lawyer and political action committee founder Leslie Danks Burke in the Democratic primary for the district by over 20 points. 

Webb won in all three counties in the district — Broome, Tompkins and Cortland. But the candidates each saw their best performance in their home counties — Tompkins for Danks Burke and Broome for Webb.

"Now, more than ever, we need leaders that not only understand, but are willing to fight for and alongside working families, and who also have a track record of doing it," Webb said, during a stop outside a poll site on Ithaca's South Side.

Democrats have a significant voter enrollment advantage in the district. But Webb said she thinks many of her key priorities will resonate across the political spectrum.

"We have a lot more in common across the district than folks may realize," Webb said.
"Key issues like housing, having good paying jobs that allow us to thrive, access to quality, affordable health care."

Both candidates racked up numerous, prominent endorsements leading up to the election. The two shared a similar stance on issues like housing, reproductive rights and climate change, but differed slightly in execution.

Danks Burke made a brief but emotional appearance at her watch party in Ithaca.

"This community is so beautiful and I’m so thankful to be a part of it. Thank you, everyone," Danks Burke said through tears.

This was Danks Burke’s third attempt to win a seat in the state Senate. She ran two campaigns against state Sen. Tom O'Mara in 2016 and 2020, back when Ithaca was a part of the more conservative-leaning 58th Senate District. 

Black Lives Matter activist Jordan Clemons of Ithaca said he plans to back Danks Burke again if she runs a fourth time.

"Year after year she got better, she continued to move closer towards her goal," Clemons said. "She has grit."

Danks Burke did not say whether she was considering a fourth run.

Lea Webb will go on to face fellow Binghamton resident and former mayor, Rich David in November. David ran unopposed for the Republican nomination.