10:43am

Wed November 7, 2012
Politics

Democrats appear to have taken control of State Senate

Democrats appear to have taken over the State Senate, by a narrow margin. Some races were still being tallied, and others may be headed to a recount.

The unofficial tally shows Democrats may have won as many as 33 seats to the Republican’s 30.

Democrats had sought to win the majority promising a progressive agenda including raising the minimum wage. Republicans campaigned on a platform of jobs and fiscal control.

Republicans lost at least one seat in the Rochester area, despite controlling the redistricting process and drawing the lines for new districts that maximized a G.O.P. advantage. But in some close districts, candidates who were behind were refusing to concede and demanding recounts.

In a new 63rd District that was drawn to create an additional Republican seat, the race between Republican George Amedore and Democrat Cecilia Tkaczyk was too close to call.

And one of the Republican senators who helped approve same sex marriage in New York appeared headed to defeat. Senator Stephen Saland of the Hudson Valley, who beat back a primary challenge, was losing narrowly to a Democratic challenger.

Only one of four senators who helped Governor Andrew Cuomo pass gay marriage won a clear re-election victory Tuesday, Senator Mark Grisanti of the Buffalo area. One decided not to run again, and the fourth, Senator Roy McDonald of the Saratoga-Capital Region, lost in a primary.

With absentee ballots likely to be counted before some races are decided, it could be weeks before its known which party controls the state Senate.

Even if Democrats do end up in with more seats than Republicans, they likely face a struggle to run the chamber. Four of the Democrats, all of whom won re-election Tuesday, are members of a breakaway group known as the Independent Democratic Conference, and have often sided with the Republican majority.

They are unlikely to back the Democrat’s current leadership, under Senate Democratic Leader John Sampson.