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Control Of State Senate Still Unclear

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More than a week after Election Day, it’s still unclear which party will control the state senate, and while there is one man who could single-handedly tip the balance of power, he’s not saying much for now. NY1's Bobby Cuza filed the following report.

With a string of unexpected victories last week, Democrats believe they not only re-took the majority in the state senate, but they also won a mandate to lead.

"On November 6, people in the state of New York elected Democrats to run the New York State Senate," State Senate Minority Leader John Sampson said on NY1's "Inside City Hall" Wednesday.

The reality, though, is more complex. This week, newly elected Democrat Simcha Felder of Brooklyn announced he’s joining the Republicans. That gives the Republicans 31 votes and the Democrats 30, though Democrats are ahead in two races that have gone to a recount. Winning those two seats would give them a one-seat majority.

Then, there’s also Senator Jeff Klein, head of the four-member Independent Democratic Conference, which broke away from the Democrats last year. Throwing his conference's support to the Republicans would give them the majority.

For now, Klein isn’t tipping his hand.

"The votes have not been counted yet," Klein said. "We don’t know officially if the Democrats or Republicans are going to have the majority. The only thing I would say is that the Independent Democratic Conference will be at the forefront, working on issues just like this."

Klein was in Edgewater Park in the Bronx Thursday, visiting one of the state's mobile command centers and talking storm recovery with local residents. He said he's not yet ready to talk about control of the state senate.

"We’re here today, really, to offer relief," he said. "There'll be plenty of time for politics.”

Indeed, a recount began this week in one of the undecided races upstate, where Democrat Cecelia Tkaczyk is ahead by 139 votes. It could be nearly another two weeks before all absentee and affidavit ballots in that race are counted.

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