It was a peace treaty via press release – with at least one of the warring parties unaware that there even was a truce.

Governor Cuomo and state Democratic party leaders are trumpeting a “deal” this week that could win back the State Senate from Republican hands. While the GOP is technically in the minority, the party still manages to run the Senate with the assistance of eight breakaway Democrats. For several years, efforts to forge party unity have failed with the cynics among us wondering whether the governor preferred dealing with Senate Republicans so he could politically triangulate around them – while also scapegoating them when liberal policy issues would run aground.

But the “deal” would allow the GOP to remain in the driver’s seat for much of next year’s legislative session – with the governor not calling for a special election in two Democratic Senate districts until after budget season is complete in April. And pushing off those elections for months gives Republicans plenty of time to try to regroup and make another deal with the breakaway Democrats.

Meanwhile, liberal Democrats are vowing to follow through on their plans to present primary challenges to the eight members of the breakaway Independent Democratic Conference. If that happens, it seems unlikely that we’ll be seeing peace in our time. “Deal” or deal deal, I wouldn’t be writing off the Republicans in the State Senate just yet.


Bob Hardt