Senate Republicans have gained one more member in the fight for control of the chamber. Newly elected Brooklyn Democrat Simcha Felder says he’ll sit with the GOP.
The current Senate Majority Leader, Dean Skelos, says he’s pleased to welcome Felder to the Senate
Republican Conference, and that the newly elected Democratic senator shares the GOP’s priorities of economic development and job creation.
Felder says he chose to caucus with those senators who will best serve the communities he represents.
Senate Leader Skelos says Senator Felder will be a “valuable member of the conference.”
The senator is very valuable for Republicans trying to retain control of the Senate. Currently, the Democrats have won 31 seats, and Republicans have won 30. Two races are still being tallied, though the Democratic candidate is leading in both contests. If both win, the Democrats would still have the numerical majority in the house, by just one seat, even with Felder’s defection.
But four Democrats are in their own breakaway conference, and have not said which side, if any, they will ultimately join.
In a statement, the spokesman for the Senate Democrats Mike Murphy said: "The voters sent a clear message on election night that they want the Senate led by a Democratic majority. We are confident that when the Senate convenes in January, there will be that Democratic majority."
Murphy says Democrats look forward to working with Governor Andrew Cuomo on his "progressive agenda."