After ending his legal battle to challenge the absentee and paper ballot count in the 41st Senate District, Republican Sen. Stephen Saland of Poughkeepsie has officially conceded his race today to Democrat Terry Gipson.

Saland is ending his career in the chamber a year and a half after providing a key vote and input on the legalization of same-sex marriage, a vote that resulted in the endorsement of Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

But the Hudson Valley lawmaker’s vote went beyond same-sex marriage. Saland was instrumental in crafting a religious protection amendment to the measure that was needed in order to get the bill to the floor for a vote in the GOP-led chamber.

But Saland’s bid for re-election was hobbled in part by Conservative Party candidate Neil DiCarlo, who had unsuccessfully challenged the GOP incumbent on the Republican line in September.

Complicating matters was a redistricting plan that included more conservative areas of the Hudson Valley that incorporated parts of Putnam County.

Saland in a statement issued today gave a “heartfelt thank you” to his supporters and family.

With the victory, Democrats are extending their numerical majority in the chamber to 32, but with a coalition of independent Democrats being formed with Republicans and a sixth Democrat joining the GOP conference, the party is expected to be out of power in the Senate come January.

The race for 46th Senate District between Democrat Cecilia Tkaczyk and Republican George Amedore remains unsettled.

His statement:

After learning today the final count of the absentee ballots and affidavits have revealed that the voters have selected Terry Gipson as the State Senator of the 41st Senate District, I respectfully concede in my bid for State Senate and offer my sincere congratulations to Mr. Gipson.

The Putnam County and Dutchess County Board of Elections are to be commended for their hard work and diligence to ensure the integrity of the election process and overseeing the count of all votes.

I would like to thank the people I have represented for the last 32 years in both the Assembly and the Senate for the privilege of serving them. It has truly been a great honor; an honor I share with the members of my staff who dedicated themselves to the people who I have had the good fortune to represent. I extend a heartfelt thank you to the many that have stood by me, supported me, and aided me in my public service, most especially my wife Linda and our family.

Today’s final results offer a time to reflect on a fulfilling legislative career that has allowed me an opportunity to give back to the community which has given so much to me and my family. I wish those I have represented, regardless of party, only the best and thank them for the years they entrusted me to serve as their State Senator.

Update: Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, who will share the Senate presidency with Sen. Jeff Klein of the independent Democrats and become conference chairman, said in a statement that Saland’s shoes will be hard to fill.

“This chamber will miss Steve Saland’s clear and steady voice, most notably in the areas of criminal justice and victim’s rights,” he said. “Steve was the author of more than 350 laws, and he has been a fierce advocate for the victims of domestic violence and child abuse.”