Democrats Claim They've Won Majority Control In State Senate
Democrats projected Wednesday that they will take majority control of the state Senate once all the votes are tallied. NY1's Zack Fink has the story.
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Two big wins by Democrats were victories by incumbents in strongly contested races. One win was in Westchester and the other was in Queens, where incumbent Democrat Joseph Addabbo fended off a challenge from City Councilman Eric Ulrich.
Former City Councilman Simcha Felder also won in Brooklyn, although his allegiance to the Democratic party is uncertain.
"We believe we have secured 32 seats by elected Democrats which gives us the majority," Sen. Michael Gianaris (D-Queens) said.
The Democrats picked up a seat in Rochester as well. They currently hold about a 1,600 vote lead against incumbent Steven Saland, a Republican senator who voted for gay marriage last year.
Observers say the key to controlling the majority may come down to the Independent Democratic Conference.
The group of four broke off from Democrats after a squabble over leadership. The leader of the IDC, Sen. Jeff Kllein (D-Bronx), may determine who becomes majority leader.
"They're going to decide for themselves how they react and how they behave, but the Democratic conference has had some experiences in the past several years in these situations and I think the conference has learned from its mistakes," Gianaris said. "We are anxious to have them back. We want to welcome them back."
Klein declined to speak on camera, but issued a statement thanking voters.
During the redistricting process this year, the GOP added a 63rd Senate seat despite objections from Democrats.
The move was viewed as an effort to preserve their narrow majority, but it may have backfired.
Although as of Wednesday no winner had been determined, Democratic candidate Cecilia Tkaczyk was leading her race by 140 votes. Tkaczyk was supported by an outside Super PAC.
"We did work in advance to note that that was a winnable race for the Democrats," Jonathan Soros of Friends of Democracy said. "The more people learned about [Cecilia] Tkaczyk, the more they liked her."
Republicans have not yet conceded the majority to the Democrats. A spokesman for the state GOP said in a statement that they are confident that once all the votes are counted that they will remain in the majority.