Independent Democrats May Determine Which Party Controls The State Senate
The ruling political party in the state Senate is likely to be the one that can court the favor of independent Democratic senators. NY1’s Zack Fink filed the following report.
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Although not all the state Senate races were decided by Monday, it was likely that both Republicans and Democrats would need a coalition with the Independent Democratic Conference to govern.
The IDC has four members, including their leader, Jeff Klein. Sources say at this point, Klein is more likely to side with the Republicans over the Democrats.
"You have some races, so literally they are still counting ballots in some races and those races could tip the balance one way or another," Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Friday. "If that doesn't happen, then you also have these shifting alliances in the senate. There are different factions, if you will."
Democrats Malcolm Smith and newly elected State Senator Simcha Felder have not ruled out joining a Republican-majority government.
If that happened, Democrats would be sidelined. But analysts say in that scenario, current Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos would be weakened, potentially giving the governor more influence over the Senate chamber.
In addition, the Vito Lopez sexual harassment scandal looming over assembly Democrats could give the governor even more reach into that chamber.
"You’ve got an extraordinarily strong governor right now, both operationally in terms of his political capital but, yes, he gets even more capital,” said Doug Muzzio, a professor at Baruch College. “He's got leverage vis-a-vis [Assemblyman Speaker Sheldon "Shelly" Silver], leverage vis-a-vis Dean [Skelos]."
Allies of the governor said he will benefit no matter what happens.
“The thing that people need to remember about Governor Cuomo is this,” said Charlie King, the former New York State Democratic chairman. "He will take the cards that are dealt to him and he will come up with the best result."
Al Sharpton, former candidate for the Democratic nomination for the U.S. presidential election, called a meeting of state Senate Democrats last Saturday in Harlem, but it was canceled.
A spokeswoman for Sharpton said that the meeting will be rescheduled, although the details will be kept private.
One source said most Democrats were not planning on attending. Some noted that, at this point, Al Sharpton is a TV host.