Kathy Hochul Takes Victory Lap Around WNY

May 25, 2011 Updated May 25, 2011 at 5:50 PM EDT

By John Borsa

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May 25, 2011 Updated May 25, 2011 at 5:50 PM EDT

DEPEW, NY (WKBW) - The Republican choked and the Democrat sailed to victory in Tuesday's special election to replace former Congressman Chris Lee.

Congresswoman-elect Kathy Hochul made a victory lap around the region Wednesday, stopping at a Depew restaurant where she thanked supporters and reflected on the race.

Republicans had an early start in the race, naming candidate Jane Corwin. They also enjoyed the advantage of having 27,000 more registered Republicans in the district which spans seven counties.

But it was not enough for Corwin, the Clarence assemblywoman, who faced a tough three-way fight after businessman Jack Davis decided to make his fourth run for the seat.

Hochul stopped by Hillview Restaurant in Depew, where she told reporters her pledge to protect Medicare helped her win in a district where many thought Democratic success was impossible.

Hochul said voters rejected Republican efforts to turn Medicare into a voucher system.

"It's been characterized already as ending Medicare as we know it and the people up here have resoundingly said no, they reject that," she said.

"So I'm going to go make sure that the priorities of the people of this district -- a normally conservative, Republican district, are heard loud and clear in Washington and I expect the Republicans will be paying attention," said Hochul, who later traveled to the Rochester suburb of Greece to thank supporters there.

Hochul will be sworn-in once the election results are certified.

Currently the Erie County Clerk, Hochul will resign from that post. Gov. Andrew Cuomo will appoint her replacement.

One name floating around in political circles is Assemblyman Dennis Gabryszak (D-Cheektowaga), former town supervisor of Cheektowaga.