With no challenger of his own this past election, state Senator Tim Kennedy, D-Buffalo, spent some of his time this fall, helping out with a handful of competitive races on Long Island. While Kennedy and Democrats weren’t as successful downstate as they may have hoped, they did get some news in New York’s 8th Senate district, this week.
John Brooks, a registered Republican who ran on the Democratic line, claimed victory over Michael Venditto, the incumbent Republican. Venditto was considered a heavy favorite until his father was arrested in connection with a bribery scheme just weeks before the election.
Kennedy said the scandal swung voters to Brooks. Despite all that, the lead is only 41 votes and will be contested in court.
“Given the dynamic that has played out and the votes that have been objected to, it’s very clear that John Brooks is going to be the winner in that election. That being said, the fact that we’ve gained another vote in the Democratic Conference is telling to the voice of the people in the state of New York, another voice in the Democratic Conference from Long Island. It’s very, very positive news,” Kennedy said.
Even if Brooks’ victory, as Kennedy expects, holds up in court and he conferences with Democrats, the party still won’t have enough votes for majority control. The soon-to-be seven-member Independent Democratic Conference has not yet said whether it will caucus with mainline Dems or continue its partnership with the Republican party.