GOP Senate majority hangs on results of two special elections

Rebecca Klar

The results of next Tuesday’s state special elections could give the Democrats one-party control over both chambers and the governor’s office.

If two state Senate seats, vacated by Democrats, are won by the Democratic candidates the Democrats will hold the 32-member majority of the Senate.

However, to take control the Democrats will need Brooklyn’s Simcha Felder, a Democrat who has been caucusing with the Republicans, to return to the party fold.

Felder is the single holdout among Democrats who had been caucusing with the GOP up until April 4 as the Independent Democratic Conference.

Most members of the Independent Democratic Conference reunited with their party under Minority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, a decision that wasn’t expected to come until after Tuesday’s special election.

There are also nine vacant spots in the Democratic-controlled state Assembly.

Only one special election falls in Nassau County, for the 17th Assembly District; the seat was vacated upon the resignation of Nassau County Legislator Thomas McKevitt.

Two other Assembly seats up for election are in Suffolk County.

The elections are in the 5th Assembly District, with the resignation of Alfred Graf (R-Holbrook) to become a judge, and the 10th Assembly District, with the resignation of  Chad Lupinacci (R-Huntington) to become Huntington town supervisor.

Assemblyman Chuck Lavine (D-Glen Cove) said the election results will send a message – like state races across the country since the 2016 presidential election.

“In the event that the Democrats do win, and the turn out is impressive, that will send a strong message that people are civically engaged again,” Lavine said. “It will be a message that Americans and New Yorkers are not satisfied [and] certainly not secure in Republican leadership on the national level.”

The unity deal among Senate Democrats may have been rushed by actress Cynthia Nixon’s gubernatorial bid.

Nixon has presented herself as a more progressive candidate in her primary run against Gov. Andrew Cuomo, getting endorsements from the Working Families Party and New York Progressive Action Network on Saturday.

Following the Democrats’ unity deal, Nixon tweeted, “Power concedes nothing without a demand. We demanded – and now a terrified establishment is throwing voters a bone.”

The state Senate elections are in District 37 and District 32.

Shelley Mayer, a Democrat, faces a close race in District 37 in Westchester County against Republican Julie Killian to fill the seat vacated by Democrat George Latimer.

Luis Sepulveda, a Democrat, Patrick Delices, a Republican, and Pamela Stewart-Martinez, an Independent, will face off for the District 32 seat in New York City.


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