With apparent victories by George Latimer, Ted O’Brien and Terry Gipson, the Democratic Party is poised to re-take control of the state Senate, state Sen. Michael Gianaris told City & State shortly after midnight.
“It’s historic,” said Gianaris, who spearheaded the Democratic Party’s election efforts. “To see that many seats flip from one party to the other is extremely rare in New York. Usually if a net of two seats go one way or the other, it’s a big deal. But we now have three, possibly four or five. The people have spoken loud and clear: they want Democrats and a Democratic agenda in charge of the state Senate, and we’re looking forward to working with the governor to give it to them.”
Senate Republicans have yet to concede they will lose control. “We are confident that once all the votes are in, we will retain our majority,” Senate Republican spokesman Scott Reif said in a statement.
Yet in two radio appearances this morning, Gianaris continued to say his party would take the majority.
Asked whether John Sampson would remain leader of the party in the Senate, and about his own prospects for the top leadership position, Gianaris would only say that “the entire Democratic conference is joined at the hip tonight in celebration of re-taking the majority.” He added that the Democrats would not “repeat the mistakes in the past,” referring to the dysfunction that ensued when the party held control of the Senate from 2008 to 2010.
As of 2:30 a.m. today, Assemblyman George Latimer was ahead of Republican businessman Bob Cohen in a Westchester County Senate battle, with 54.6 percent of the vote with 82 percent of the precincts reporting. Ted O’Brien, a county legislator, won 52 percent of the vote in his race against Assemblyman Sean Hanna for the seat held by retiring Republican Sen. James Alesi in and around Rochester.
Democrat Terry Gipson held a 1,603-vote lead over incumbent Sen. Stephen Saland, who was one of the four Republican senators to vote for same-sex marriage last year.
Ryan Cronin had been leading Sen. Kemp Hannon in Long Island late last night, though Hannon came through with a victory with 52.4 percent of the vote. Cecilia Tkaczyk held an extremely narrow 139-vote lead over George Amedore.
State Sen. Joseph Addabbo Jr., a Democrat, also beat back a strong challenge from Republican City Councilman Eric Ulrich, who may have been hurt by lower turnout in parts of Queens that were hobbled by Hurricane Sandy.
Gianaris said that having President Obama on the ticket, as well as U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, provided a boost to local Democrats in key races. He also attributed the gains to strong candidates running strong campaigns, which he said allowed Democrats to overcome a vast disadvantage in campaign cash.
“We were outgunned by many millions of dollars, but we were very efficient and disciplined in how we executed our plan,” he said.
Updated with a comment from state Senate Republicans and an update on the Hannon-Cronin race.