Democrats were on the verge of recapturing a tenuous majority in the state Senate last night and erasing the GOP’s last stronghold in Albany.
several races still too close to call, the Democrats appeared to have won at
least three critical contests around the state and were poised to claim a
minimum of 32 seats in the 63-seat chamber, according to early returns.
“It is a great night,” said Queens Sen. Michael
Gianaris, who headed the Democratic campaign effort. “The Democrats throughout
this state have made it clear they want the Democrats in charge of the state
The strong Democratic showing included the apparent surprise
defeat of Stephen Saland (R-Poughkeepsie), who broke ranks with his party last
year to support gay marriage. Saland trailed Democrat Terry Gipson by more than
1,600 votes with 100% of precincts reporting.
refused to concede either the Saland race or overall control, arguing that
thousands of absentee and affidavit ballots remain to be counted in several
“We are confident that once all the votes are in, we will retain
our majority,” said Senate GOP spokesman Scott Reif.
complained that the re-location of hurricane-damaged polling sites crippled
their efforts to turn out voters in a key race in southern Queens.
looks like a war zone out there,” said Jessica Proud, a spokeswoman for Queens
Councilman Eric Ulrich, a Republican who was trailing Sen. Joseph Addabbo, a
Despite their gains, the Democrats’ path to leadership
in the Senate is clouded by the four-member Independent Democratic Conference,
which has worked closely with the GOP and has not indicated who it will back for
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