For the second consecutive Election night, who controls the State Senate majority remains a little bit unclear as winners have not been declared in tight races that will ultimately decide what party is in the majority come January 1.
Even with some races too close to call going into the early morning hours of November 3, Senate Democratic Majority Leader John Sampson released a statement declaring victory and saying that Democrats would remain in control of the Senate.
“After the significant victories of three of our top challengers – Tony Avella, David Carlucci and Tim Kennedy – Senate Democrats retained their Majority and now stand ready to address the state’s most pressing needs – creating jobs, fixing our economy and reducing property taxes,” Sampson said. “We are deeply humbled New Yorkers gave us another opportunity to finish building the New York we can be, should be, and will be.”
Going into Election Day, Democrats held a slim 32-30 margin in the State Senate, which during the past few years has become the poster boy for Albany dysfunction. That led many pollsters and insiders to predict that the Republicans would retake the majority even if it was by a slim margin.
Currently, three races – Republican Jack Martins versus Craig Johnson on Long Island, Republican Bob Cohen versus Democrat Suzi Oppenheimer in Westchester and Republican Mark Grisanti and Democrat Antoine Thompson in upstate New York – remain within one or two points and a winner has not been declared. Even if a winner is declared in these races, it is likely that there could be a court challenge because the margins are so small.
In Queens, the Democrats picked up a pivotal seat when former City Councilmember Tony Avella toppled longtime Republican Frank Padavan – a race that ultimately may have determined who controls the State Senate.
Still, Sampson projected confidence and optimism about the next year with a Democratic majority.
“Working with Governor-elect Cuomo, Lieutenant Governor-elect Duffy, and our new colleagues on both sides of the aisle, we will meet the challenges of these difficult times,” Sampson said. “United by our common hopes and driven by our strength of action, New York will renew its purpose, achieve its promise, and restore its standing as the Empire State.”