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New York State Senate Control in Serious Doubt

November 4, 2010

We know the national GOP did well on Election Day, but what about here in New York?

Republicans dreamed the State Senate would go back to the Republicans.

As it stands, the fate of that body–and crucial redistricting–remains in the air.

This is from the Times:

While the 2010 election was largely disappointing for New York Republicans, there was a silver lining.

Two years after losing the State Senate, the party’s longtime power base, Republicans were on the verge of either retaking the chamber or at the very least throwing it into a tie, meaning they will have a say in redistricting for both legislative and Congressional seats.

Though three key races were too close to call by Wednesday night, Republicans had the edge in them. If they win all three, they will have a 33-to-29 majority in the Senate.

In the 7th District on Long Island, Craig M. Johnson, an incumbent Democrat, was trailing his challenger, Jack Martins, by 415 votes, although about 3,300 absentee ballots have not been counted.

In Westchester County, another sitting Democrat, Suzi Oppenheimer, was trailing her opponent, Bob Cohen, by 2,324 votes, with 81 percent of the precincts reporting.

Perhaps the most pivotal and unexpectedly close race was in Buffalo, a heavily Democratic district, where Senator Antoine M. Thompson, a Democrat, was 547 votes behind his opponent, Mark Grisanti, a Republican. All precincts had reported, but 2,704 absentee ballots will not be counted until next week, leaving the ultimate outcome uncertain.

Senator Dean G. Skelos, a Long Island Republican poised to reclaim the title of Senate majority leader, expressed optimism in an interview on Wednesday that he would be able to work with Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo, the governor-elect. He called Mr. Cuomo on Wednesday morning and said later that he believed their agendas had much in common.

“I congratulated him,” Mr. Skelos said. “I said our messages were very similar about taxes, spending and private sector jobs, and there’s no reason we can’t work together towards those objectives.”

Democrats captured the Senate in 2008, ending more than four decades of Republican control there.

They were not ready to concede on Wednesday.

“We started in the majority, we remain in the majority, and we will pull out all the stops to stay in the majority,” said Austin Shafran, a spokesman for Senate Democrats.

“Republicans want to rush to results, but elections are also about process,” he added. “We will not let any votes be denied by an unfair process that disenfranchises New Yorkers.”

Should the ultimate outcome result in a tie, it could produce more of the confusion that has left many New Yorkers cynical about their state government.

The last time the chamber was deadlocked, in the summer of 2009, the situation deteriorated so much that the two parties conducted rival sessions simultaneously, shouting over each other in the Senate chamber.

The new lieutenant governor, Robert Duffy, a Democrat, could break ties on procedural matters like electing officers of the Senate, but he could not break ties on legislation. Some kind of power-sharing arrangement would be needed to have a productive session.

The Senate chamber was not immune from the anti-incumbent tide that swept the country. Senator Brian X. Foley, a freshman Democrat from Suffolk County whose victory two years ago helped his party take control of the Senate, was beaten decisively by Lee M. Zeldin.

In Queens, Frank Padavan, a longtime Republican incumbent, was upset by the Democrat, Tony Avella.

And in northern New York, Senator Darrel J. Aubertine, another Democrat first elected in 2008, was defeated by Patricia A. Ritchie, a Republican county clerk.

“That would be the trickle-down of the tidal wave reaching the State Senate,” said Lee M. Miringoff, director of the Marist Institute for Public Policy.

“Andrew Cuomo and Shelly Silver are watching this very closely,” Mr. Miringoff said, “because Albany has always had this unusual three step dance, and now, with the outcome of this, it looks like there will be a new partner on the dance floor.”

Certainly, the Senate’s changing leadership will upend the chamber’s policy priorities. In the last two years, Democratic control of the Senate allowed for a crop of liberal policymaking, including measures that enshrined rights for domestic workers, legalized no-fault divorce and eased Rockefeller-era drug laws.

Senate Republicans, largely drawn from Long Island and upstate, are certain to make core issues in those regions a priority in budget negotiations: school-aid dollars and property tax relief.

Mr. Skelos said he believed Mr. Cuomo could accomplish more with a Senate controlled by Republicans than one of his own party. Indeed, during his campaign, Mr. Cuomo laid out centrist fiscal policies, including a mandatory ceiling on property tax increases, that appeal to Republicans.

Many political analysts said that the Assembly speaker, Sheldon Silver, the Legislature’s most powerful Democrat and a liberal bastion in Albany, could be Mr. Cuomo’s biggest obstacle. Mr. Skelos, who briefly served as majority leader in 2008, will become, in many ways, the de facto head of the state Republican Party if he reclaims the job, and he seemed eager to take on that role.

“The first thing I’m going to do,” Mr. Skelos said, “is sit with our conference and really have an open and frank discussion with some of the members that have been there a while.”

He added that they would discuss “what do we have to do to move forward on a statewide basis to build up the image of the Republican Party, improve enrollment, and my next step would be to talk to the county chairs and bring everyone together.”

Well, from what I read, it seems like nothing is really certain with all of the absentee ballots yet to be examined. As such, we might not know for weeks or even months (given potential recounts) which party controls the Senate.

We will certainly keep our ears open.

This Weekend: “Democratic Senator Marty Golden?” Could that be possible? Why we think the idea is not so far-fetched after all…

  1. john brown permalink
    November 4, 2010 7:11 pm

    No more back room deals, no more making deals with the Dems. This year all eyes are on the the Republicans.

  2. Didn't Marty Golden commit to non-partisan commission to redraw the lines? permalink
    November 4, 2010 10:26 pm

    Didn’t he make some kind of pledge?

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHA !!! What a bunch of suckahs !!!!

    Marty’s 65%ers will get exactly what they deserve — Marty, the gift that keeps on giving.

  3. Was State Senator Golden Endorsed by the NY Post, The Daily News or The Times? permalink
    November 4, 2010 11:08 pm

    We wanted to fill in our Marty Golden scrapbook and couldn’t find his endorsement for 2010.

    Did he get any?

  4. Is the “existential threat – Jonathan Judge” being elevated to an almost omnipotent plane like the villainous “Watchman – Ozymandias”? permalink
    November 5, 2010 6:04 pm

    In the aftermath of the 2010 elections, somebody on TJIUA is suggesting that “Existential Threat – Jonathan J. Judge” has emerged as an overwhelming actual threat not unlike the super-villain Adrian Veidt (Ozymandias) from the cult classic, “Watchmen”?

    Someone “commenting” at TJIUA is now attributing vast political power to the Brooklyn YR President Jonathan J. Judge. On November 5th “The Jig is Up Atlas” posted the following comment:
    “ Anonymous (could it really be “Rorschach”?) said… ‘So, Jonathan Judge is trying to flip the Senate to the Democrats through his pal Marty Connor…. [ ].’ November 05, 2010”

    Indeed, that would seem to be awesome political power. Minimally, it implies a potency of a sort that a “pathetic” Craig Eaton only wishes that he had, but never will have. Also, it would apparently contradict the notion expressed in some form of a threat, allegedly made some time in 2009, that for some reason or other JJJ would be through in politics, after some sort of physical or not-so-physical confrontation in a diner somewhere in Park Slope, witnessed or not-witnessed by somebody named Marty Cottingham, who’s somehow a Republican District leader somewhere in central Brooklyn, where somehow a 20% vote for the Republican candidate for the assembly is considered a great showing….

    The Brooklyn GOP and its more rabid supporters need to get a grip and think things through. Jonathan Judge cannot at the same time be powerless, invisible and irrelevant; and at the very same time be capable, by various deceits, leverage and legerdemain, of destroying one of the last vestiges of Republican power in New York State through a factotum named Marty Connor.

  5. Marty Golden's Future in New York State Senate in Serious Doubt permalink
    November 6, 2010 9:29 am

    Before we move on, aren’t there a few items that Eaton’s and TJIUA-AAA’s and OUR “… infinite times great State Senator, the always honorable Marty Golden” needs to clear up before he again tries “to make Brooklyn proud, this state proud, and this great Country proud.”

    Isn’t the recently re-elected State Senator Martin J. Golden still under a cloud for possibly being involved in tampering with some evidence in the cases against several of his relatives arising out of the April 2010 Kettle Black brawl.

    Doesn’t the recently re-elected State Senator Golden need to explain how a man, to whom Golden gave 1.5 million dollars ($1,500,000), has avoided spending any time in jail after pleading guilty to drug felonies (in full dispostion of several other charges involving other drug charges, weapons possession and threats with weapons) which happened in 2006, shortly before Golden completed his transfer of the funds to that man in a very suspicious deal. Interestingly, the arraignment on multiple drug charges was “rescheduled” from a date shorly before the transfer of the 1.5 million dollars ($1,500,000) by State Senator Golden to a date right after the transfer.

    Also an attorney named “Aidala” is a person of influence in both of these cases.

    Attorney Aidala, who represent[s/ed] one or more of Golden’s relatives in the Kettle Black cases, made a series of statements indicating that he had detailed inside information about “tampered evidence” long before any dislosures of such missing or tampered evidence had been made public.

    Attorney Aidala apparantly was brought into the “drug case” above to represent the man, who’d received the $1.5 million from State Senator Golden in 2006, but after the man had made his plea bargain. Since being brought on, Attorney Aidala has been involved in dozens of adjournments of the sentencing after the plea bargain and guilty plea had been made more than three years ago.

  6. Did the Republicans win any Democratic Senate Seats In Brooklyn of the rest of NYC? permalink
    November 7, 2010 2:56 pm

    I found some election results in the NY Times and it looks like all of the incumbent State Senators running in Brooklyn had won re-election; and all except one of those were Democrats. The one Republican State Senator from Brooklyn had the lowest percentage and lowest margin of victory of anybody in Brooklyn elected to the State Senate in 2010.

    It could have been worse, Queens Republican State Senator Padavan lost, but of course that was against a fully supported Democratic challenger, not a lone wolf independent Democrat like Michael DiSanto.

    Wasn’t this supposed to be a big Republican year? What happened in Brooklyn?

  7. Why don't Eaton and his people acknowledge that they've argued themselves up their own asses and are about to disappear. permalink
    November 8, 2010 1:55 am

    How can 34% and 38% showings against Democrat incumbent assemblymen, in the 47th and 49th ADs respectively, be something that shows a fearsome upsurge in Republican might in those districts, when 35% against State Senator Marty Golden is a crushing defeat for the Democratic challenger in much of the same territory?

    Supposedly the Republican candidates in the 47th and the 49th had a resurgent Brooklyn GOP strongly behind them, along with a strong national trend in favor of Republicans pushing them along. The Democrat running against Golden ran as a lone insurgent without any Democratic organizational support and no big wave of support for Democrats among the electorate at large.

    Eaton’s bloggers seem to enjoy sitting atop their double standard. The only question is which horn of their dilemma do they prefer for penetration.

  8. Young Republican permalink
    November 8, 2010 5:10 pm

    Good. Maybe now they’ll act like grown ups. Now they will have to work with all senators. Remember, the senate is made up of 62 senators, not 32, or 33, or what ever the size of the majority parties conference. New Yorkers elect 62 people to represent them in the senate, and all of them must take part in anything that the senate does.

  9. Why is it that we need a Republican majority in the State Senate? permalink
    November 10, 2010 12:30 am

    Are these the kind of “Republican” State Senators that we need?

    Roy McDonald: pro-labor Republican with backing of State Employee Unions

    Sen. Roy McDonald is a Republican who won re-election from a district in Saratoga and Rensselaer counties and he was opposed to the layoff plan put forward by Gov. David Paterson; and he probably still is.

    Last week McDonald said, “I’m not in favor of any layoff…. We don’t want people to be going on welfare, unemployment or food stamps. I came from a a blue-collar family — layoff is a dirty word.”

    This makes good political sense for McDonald. Labor unions supported his re-election bid, and because of his district’s nearness to Albany, many public employees live in the counties he represents.

    Clearly, McDonald’s rhetoric is out of step with the fiscally conservative line many other Republicans spout.

    Grisanti: Democrat or Republican?

    According to his campaign manager Doug Curella, “When it comes time to organize, Mr. Grisanti will be voting for a Republican majority leader…. However, he is not locked and set with any party when it comes to individual issues. Mark will vote for whatever is best for Western New York and the people of the 60th Senate district.”

    Some Democrats are still hoping that Grisanti – who changed his party registration from Democrat to Republican could be convinced to caucus with the Democrats should he be declared the winner in his race against democratic incumbent Antoine Thompson.

  10. "As the days dwindle down to a precious few...November...December... permalink
    November 12, 2010 10:18 pm

    Still three close NYS State Senate races —

    Grisanti(R)(by 597 votes), Martins(R)(by 427 votes), Oppenheimer(D)(by 504 votes) still hold leads. All three races have(low)thousands of uncounted absentee and affidavit ballots.

    NYS State Senate, as of this moment:

    Republicans 30
    Democrats 29
    Undecided 3

    [Friday, November 12, 2010 at 11:36 AM by Jimmy Vielkind in 2010 State Senate Election]:…/2010-state-senate-election/ –

    • Here’s how the Democrats see how this count is going permalink
      November 14, 2010 11:38 pm

      According to Celeste Katz of the Daily News, this is how NY State Senate Democrats are pitching the story about these three counts, to date []:

      District #7 — Johnson (D) — Martins (R)
      After gaining 61 votes yesterday, Johnson now trails by only 427 votes; Johnson gained 61 votes from the counting of just 175 absentee and affidavit ballots out of a total of approximately 4100 absentee and affidavit ballots returned; at this pace, Johnson could gain over 1000 additional votes by the conclusion of the counting of all absentee and affidavit ballots.

      District #37 — Oppenheimer (D) — Cohen (R)
      Oppenheimer now leads by 504 votes following the counting of all EDs; GOP lawyers reneged on a promise to withdraw their election-day order blocking additional counting in Westchester -delaying the counting of 3328 emergency ballots; still remaining to be counted are 2455 absentee and 1070 affidavit ballots which were returned with a Democratic enrollment advantage.

      District #60 — Thompson (D) — Grisanti (R)
      Thompson trails by just 597 votes – less than 1 percent of the total votes cast; There are still over 2700 absentee ballots to be counted, nearly two-thirds of which were returned by Democrats; there are also approximately 2000 affidavit ballots (144 in Niagara and 1,800 in Erie) returned.

      According to Democratic spokesman, Austin Shafran, “New Yorkers have spoken, and now it’s our job to ensure their voices are heard through a full, fair, and honest count of every vote. With each new tally, Democratic candidates are gaining strength and moving forward along a clear path to victory – counting every vote.”

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