Metzger facing Republican challenger in 42nd Senate District

Legislative Gazette photo by Rose Felice
October 22, 2020. Political campaign signs cluster around an intersection on the outskirts of New Paltz, New York, including signs in support of opposing candidates Jen Metzger and Mike Martucci in the race for New York State Senate District 42.

State Senator Jen Metzger, a freshman Democrat, is running for re-election in District 42 on November 3. Her Republican opponent is first-time candidate Mike Martucci.

Senate District 42 includes Sullivan County and parts of Delaware, Orange, and Ulster counties. Although the largely rural district has a mix of Democratic and Republican voters, three of the four counties represented by the district have a higher percentage of Democratic active voters, with Ulster, Orange, and Sullivan Counties leaning more left and Delaware County leaning more right. More active Democratic voters, including young Ulster County voters from the liberal-arts college SUNY New Paltz, helped Metzger win the election in 2018 following the retirement of Republican State Sen. John Bonacic, who held the State Senate seat in District 42 for decades.

Metzger is running for reelection as the Democratic, Working Families, and Serve America Movement party candidate. She has worked in local government for the Town of Rosendale for more than 10 years, including five years as a town councilwoman. Metzger is also the co-founder of the nonprofit organization Citizens for Local Power and serves as the Senate Chair of the Committee on Agriculture. The incumbent senator currently lives in Rosendale with her husband and three children. 

Martucci is running as the Republican, Conservative, and Independence Party candidate. Martucci, who is a family farmer and life-long Orange County resident, started a school bus company at the age of 22 called Quality Bus Service, which he eventually grew to more than 550 employees operating 350 buses in local school districts. 

In 2015, Martucci was elected president of the New York School Bus Contractors Association and is currently a member of the board of directors and vice president of the SUNY Orange Foundation. Martucci lives with his wife and three children in Wawayanda.  

Photo courtesy of
Mike Martucci, right, has been endorsed by former Governor George Pataki, left, in his race against first-term Democratic Senator Jen Metzger.

Overall, District 42 has 67,386 active Democratic voters and 53,756 Active Republican voters, making a reelection for Sen. Metzger seem promising. However, there are also 43,696 active independent voters in the district, so turnout and preference for either Trump or Biden will be two factors that affect down-ballot races such as this one.

Metzger is focused on education funding, supporting the economic prosperity of local towns and businesses and fighting the opioid epidemic, while Martucci is running a “families first” platform that supports lower taxes and local jobs. 

Both candidates promise to support local farms and agriculture, which is an important issue for the rural district. They clash over several issues, including health care policy, the New York State plastic bag ban and how best to get strong broadband internet access to the entire community.

Bail reform is another particularly contentious issue in this race, with Martucci accusing the bail reform bill co-sponsored by Sen. Metzger of being “pro-criminal,” and putting citizens’ safety at risk. According to Metzger, the bail reform law takes unfair economic advantages out of the bail system. 

Metzger wrote for The Chronicle on the law, saying, “All defendants are treated the same way for misdemeanors and non-violent felonies, regardless of what’s in their bank account. I wish more people understood that all these reforms have done is given everybody the same rights that people with money have always had.” However, Martucci argues that the bail reform law has prematurely released criminals from jail who may be dangerous to the community.