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Ted O'Brien

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Ted O'Brien
Ted O'Brien.jpg
New York State Senate District 55
Former member
In office
January 1, 2013 - January 1, 2015
Elections and appointments
Last electionNovember 4, 2014
First electedNovember 6, 2012
Term limitsN/A
High schoolWebster R.L. Thomas High School
Bachelor'sUnion College
J.D.Syracuse University, 1982
Campaign website
Ted O'Brien is a former Democratic member of the New York State Senate, representing District 55 from 2012 to January 1, 2015. He was defeated in the November 4, 2014, general election by Rich Funke (R).
This candidate ran in a "race to watch" in one of the 20 chambers identified by Ballotpedia as a battleground chamber.

The New York Senate had a difference in partisan balance between Democrats and Republican of three seats, which amounts to 4.8 percent of the chamber. In 2012, a total of nine districts were competitive or mildly competitive. There were eight districts where the margin of victory was 5 percent or less in the 2012 elections.

Committee assignments


At the beginning of the 2013 legislative session, O'Brien served on the following committees:

New York Committee Assignments, 2013
Commerce, Economic Development and Small Business
Cultural Affairs, Tourism, Parks and Recreation
Local Government


Campaign themes


O'Brien's campaign website highlighted the following issues:[1]

Delivering Upstate Tax Relief

  • Excerpt: "Ted believes that for too long, Upstate families and businesses have struggled under the burden of high taxes that drive up the cost of living and stifle growth and innovation. That’s why Ted fought to secure $1.5 billion in property tax relief that will go directly to homeowners and small businesses, and introduced the Unfunded Mandate Reform Act to force Albany politicians to get serious about reducing mandated costs on local communities that drive up property taxes."

Creating Jobs in Our Community

  • Excerpt: "Ted believes that creating new jobs in Monroe and Ontario Counties requires a three-pronged approach: investing in the innovation-based economy, supporting tourism in the Finger Lakes Region, and empowering our highly-skilled workforce to fill the jobs of the future."

Standing Up for Women’s Equality

  • Excerpt: "Ted continues to be a leader in the fight to pass all 10 points of the Women’s Equality Act, and will not stop until women and men finally receive equal pay for equal work, women are better protected against sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace, and New York law guarantees women control over their own reproductive health choices."

Improving Our Schools

  • Excerpt: "As the father of two young daughters in public school, Ted knows how important it is to provide our children with a first-rate education. Ted successfully fought to increase our community’s school aid by over $77 million and expand access to pre-K in our community to over 700 high-need children. He has also been an outspoken critic of the flawed roll-out of the Common Core Curriculum, and helped pass key reforms this year that will curb excessive standardized testing and protect student privacy."

Cleaning Up Albany

  • Excerpt: "Ted has worked tirelessly to fight corruption by advocating for term limits for politicians and passing tougher penalties for public officials who break the law. Ted has written a bill that would prevent politicians accused of corruption for using campaign funds to pay for their legal defense, and supports efforts to strip corrupt politicians of their taxpayer-funded pensions and increase transparency in our campaign finance system. As an Albany outsider, Ted is committed to finally giving New Yorkers the government they deserve."


O'Brien highlighted the following as his priorities:

  • "End taxpayer subsidies for corporations that outsource jobs overseas."
  • "Fight to lower property taxes so middle class families can afford to live in our communities."
  • "Pass the New York Fair Pay Act so that women and men who do the same job receive the same pay."
  • "Raise the minimum wage so that hardworking families have a better quality of life and more cash to spend in local businesses."
  • "Provide incentives for small businesses that create good, local jobs."



See also: New York State Senate elections, 2014
Elections for the office of New York State Senate took place in 2014. A primary election took place on September 9, 2014. The general election took place November 4, 2014. The signature-filing deadline for candidates wishing to run in this election was July 10, 2014. Incumbent Ted O'Brien was unopposed in the Democratic primary, while Rich Funke was unopposed in the Republican primary. O'Brien ran on the Working Families Party ticket and Funke ran on the Conservative Party, SCC-Stop Common Core and Independence Party of New York State tickets. O'Brien was defeated by Funke in the general election.[2][3][4]

The New York State Senate was a battleground chamber that Ballotpedia identified as having the opportunity to switch partisan control in 2014. The New York Senate had a difference in partisan balance between Democrats and Republican of three seats, or 4.8 percent of the chamber. District 55 in the Senate has been identified by Ballotpedia, Democrat & Chronicle and as a battleground district that could determine control of the New York State Senate. Incumbent Ted O'Brien (D) was defeated by Rich Funke (R) in the general election.[5] In 2012, O'Brien won an open seat with a margin of victory of 4 percent. A Siena College poll in October showed O'Brien struggling against Funke.[6] The poll showed Funke leading O'Brien, 57 percent to 32 percent. Funke is well known for his 30-year career as a TV reporter and anchor. O'Brien argued that the public knew Funke because of his television career, but not where he stood on the issues. Campaign finance reports filed in early October showed that Senate Republicans spent $171,000 on Funke's campaign.[7] O'Brien was endorsed by U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D) and Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), while Funke was endorsed by the New York chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors.[8][9]

New York State Senate District 55, General Election, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngRich Funke 57.8% 54,874
     Democratic Ted O'Brien Incumbent 40.7% 38,624
     None Blank 1.3% 1,272
     None Void 0.1% 139
     None Scattering 0.1% 80
Total Votes 94,989


See also: New York State Senate elections, 2012

O'Brien ran in the 2012 election for New York State Senate District 55. He ran unopposed in the Democratic primary on September 13, 2012. He also ran on the Working Families Party ticket. O'Brien defeated Sean T. Hanna (R) in the general election which took place on November 6, 2012.[10][11][12]

New York State Senate, District 55, General Election, 2012
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngTed O'Brien 52% 70,020
     Republican Sean Hanna 48% 64,572
Total Votes 134,592

Campaign donors

Comprehensive donor information for Ted O'Brien is available dating back to 2012. Based on available campaign finance records, Ted O'Brien raised a total of $545,640 during that time period. This information was last updated on September 23, 2013.[13]

Ted O'Brien's Campaign Contribution History
Year Office Result Contributions
2012 New York State Senate, District 55 Won $545,640
Grand Total Raised $545,640


Ted O'Brien won election to the New York State Senate in 2012. During that election cycle, Ted O'Brien raised a total of $545,640.
New York State Senate 2012 election - Campaign Contributions
Top contributors to Ted O'Brien's campaign in 2012
Democratic Senate Campaign Cmte of New York$243,000
O'Brien, Edward$28,645
Rochester Regional Joint Board Unite Here!$10,300
1199 Seiu United Healthcare Workers East$10,300
New York State United Teachers$10,300
Total Raised in 2012$545,640
Source: Follow the Money


See also: State legislative scorecards and State legislative scorecards in New York

Legislative scorecards are used to evaluate elected public officials based on voting record. Some scorecards are created by political advocacy groups with a focus on specific issues, while others are developed by newspapers and are broad in scope. Scorecards are meant to be used as a tool for voters to have a quick picture of whether their views align with a particular legislator's record.

Because scorecards can be specific to particular issues or general to a state’s legislative term, for example, each report should be considered on its own merits. Each entity that publishes these reports uses different methodologies and definitions for the terms used.

An overview for scorecards in all 50 states can be found on this page. To contribute to the list of New York scorecards, email suggestions to

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In 2013, the 200th New York State Legislature, first annual session, was in session from January 9 to December 31. In 2014, the 200th New York State Legislature, second annual session, was in session from January 8 to June 19, 2014.[14]

  • Legislators are scored on their votes of bills that benefit or harm the environment.
  • Legislators are scored on their votes of bills that benefit or harm the environment.
  • Legislators are scored on their votes on key small business issues.



In 2014, O'Brien's endorsements included the following:[15]

  • Civil Service Employees Assocation (CSEA)
  • UNITE HERE Rochester Regional Joint Board
  • New York State United Teachers (NYSUT)
  • Planned Parenthood of New York PAC
  • Empire State Pride Agenda
  • Citizen Action of New York
  • New York League of Conservation Voters

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Political offices
Preceded by
James Alesi (R)
New York Senate District 55
2013–January 1, 2015
Succeeded by
Rich Funke (R)