One New York state Senate seat that has been hotly contested in recent years in central New York, will not be this year. Republicans have not been able to come up with anyone to run against Democrat Dave Valesky in the 53rd Senate District.
Valesky, who is running for his fifth term in the statehouse, says he was surprised that he'll have no opposition on November's ballot.
"I've had a number of tough races over the years, but I think it's example of what hard work can do," said Valesky. "And working on behalf of my constituents in a bipartisan fashion really in a whole dramatic new way in Albany."
The senator is referring to the Independent Democratic Conference, a breakaway group of four Democratic lawmakers, including Valesky, who didn't like how downstate democrats ran the senate when they gained control of the chamber in 2010.
"We have always put policy ahead of politics, that's been job one, and getting results out of the government that is elected by the people of this state," said Valesky.
Valesky suggests that the IDC has helped change the culture in Albany.
"Not so long ago, newspaper reporters, and radio reporters were always using the word dysfunction when talking about Albany. We don't hear dysfunction any more, and I think part of that, specific to the State Senate is because of what we've been able to do to bring about some real stability and cohesiveness in the state Senate itself."
These Independent Democrats also created a relationship with the now majority Republican Party in the senate, some even getting committee chairmanships. That relationship may have come in handy when Valesky's district was reapportioned this year, and he found himself with more democrats in his district than before. Republicans hold a 32 to 29 edge in the state Senate now, offering the four IDC senators some political leverage.