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DECISION 2010:   Home  |  Top News  |  On The Air  |  On The Issues  |  Struggle For Power  |  Crooked Lines

In this special five-part series, NY1 political reporter Erin Billups examines the fight to control the New York State Senate.

Struggle For Power: Independents Could Tip Outcome Of Upstate Senate Race

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A battle being waged in the Albany area could play a big part in who controls the State Senate come January. NY1's Erin Billups filed the following report.

The Capital Region's 44th Senate District is a key battleground in the fight for control of the senate. There are more Republicans than Democrats in the district, but Independent voters outnumber both.

Democrat Susan Savage believes she can flip the district to blue.

"I’ve knocked on thousands of doors, all over the district -- lost a dress size in the process. What I’m hearing is people want someone new," says Savage.

The 32-year Republican incumbent Hugh Farley is well respected. And after two rocky years of a Democratic controlled senate, he believes his message of a GOP majority resonates more with voters.

"We need a little balance and that’s why I think it’s so important that we take back the senate and we’re gonna take it back I’ll tell you that right now," says Farley.

Most upstate New Yorkers want relief from the crippling property tax burden. They also want to see economic development and job creation. Depending on who residents in the 44th Senate district choose to represent them, it could determine who will control the State Senate and address their concerns.

The debate is shifting away from the issues as both candidates claim the other will only add to Albany's dysfunction.

"Farley voted to make New York City's Pedro Espada president of the senate, a heartbeat away from becoming governor," said one TV attack ad targeting Farley.

"Court papers say Savage did political campaign work while collecting a check from taxpayers," said one TV attack ad targeting Savage.

While a recent poll shows Farley with a sizable lead over Savage, the Democrat is a well-known local politician who currently chairs the Schenectady County Legislature.

"They’re looking toward me in this district to bring that change. Because they’ve seen the change that I’ve already brought here," says Savage.

Still, Farley is confident his popularity along with the rise of the Tea Party movement will keep him in office.

"I’ll take any surge that I can get," says Farley. "I’ve got a proven record of being tax conscious, of representing the people that sent me there."

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