With positive results in local races on Election Day, State Democrats are already hopeful about their prospects for next year. Every seat in the state legislature is up for re-election, and State Senate Democrats are hopeful they might finally recapture control of the chamber, where the pickup of just two seats could make a huge difference. State House Reporter Zack Fink looks at one race that is already under way in Brooklyn.
Although the election is almost a full year away, already the State Senate race in Southern Brooklyn is taking shape.
This week, Attorney Andrew Gounardes announced that he is entering the race to unseat 15-year Republican incumbent Marty Golden. Gounardes already ran once in 2012 and lost to Golden by 15 percentage points.
But this time around, he thinks things will be different.
"I definitely think we will have a big Democratic year. I think we are just going to have people coming out in general who frustrated with how politics have failed them," Gounardes said. "They see corrupt deals, they see shady backroom things happening, they see failed political dysfunction, and people are frustrated regardless of the party."
Gounardes is not the first Democrat to enter the race. Former journalist Ross Barkan announced in September that he is running for the seat in the 22nd District. He also thinks prospects for Democrats are looking good next year.
"Yes, I absolutely do. I thought that before the election results just a couple of weeks ago, and I believe that now more than ever," Barkan said. "People are energized. Donald Trump is extremely unpopular. And there is an understanding among the voters that really to make change, you need to do it on the local level."
Barkan and Gounardes said they believe a primary will be good for the party, because it will energize voters.
Meantime, an adviser to Golden said the senator is comfortable running on his record, adding that he ran against Gounardes before and "comfortably won."
This race in Bay Ridge is one of several where the Democrats are expected to recruit and support candidates to take on Republican incumbents they consider vulnerable.
What remains to be seen is if Democrats run primaries against the eight members of the Independent Democratic Conference (IDC), who have a coalition with the Republican for majority control of the State Senate in Albany.