The race to replace Dean Skelos in the New York State Senate could determine who controls the Upper House. By now, Democrats have settled on Assemblyman Todd Kaminsky, who received the endorsement this weekend of Governor Andrew Cuomo. Kaminsky is a solid candidate for a lot of reasons. First off, he is a former federal prosecutor, so if the idea is to send a public interest crusader to replace Skelos, who was convicted of federal corruption last year, Kaminsky is probably the right guy. Kaminsky is also good because he looks a little bit like a Prince in a Walt Disney Cartoon. All he is missing is a crown, scepter and crushed purple velour cape with a gold neck clasp.
If Kaminsky wins, on paper at least, Republicans lose their majority in the State Senate. It would be a 31-31 tie counting the Jeff Klein-led Independent Democratic Conference. The deciding vote would then be Senator Simcha Felder. Sources say Felder is likely to remain in the Republican Conference. And his recent hiring of longtime Republican Senate Counsel Robert Farley as Albany Chief of Staff would seem to demonstrate his commitment to the current Republican-controlled configuration. But he might face enormous pressure to switch sides from labor unions, Mayor de Blasio and others. Felder won his last race running on the Conservative line where he receicved 8,105 votes. But the most votes he received were on the Democratic line – 21,384. So, bottom line is Democratic voters still determine his fate in Brooklyn. And a Kaminsky victory, could for the first time in six year, raise the specter of Democrats holding enough votes to bring all the Democrats – even those in name only – under one umbrella ( ella-ella-ella-ey-ey-ey ).