Democrats Take Over NY State Senate
Come January 2019 the New York State Senate will be led by Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D-Yonkers). Democrats handily defeated Republicans in key districts on Long Island and the Hudson Valley. Democrats are likely to have 40 seats to the Republicans 23. Long anticipated, the Democratic takeover in the Senate represents a unification of the party after the disbanding of the Independent Democratic Conference and an increasing commitment by Governor Cuomo to campaign for Democratic candidates.
The Democrats needed only to win one additional seat to take a numeric majority and defend one vulnerable incumbent, Senator John Brooks (Nassau, Suffolk). Republicans had to defend five open seats due to retirements and four seats determined to be vulnerable.
On Long Island, Republican incumbent Senators Marcellino, Phillips and Hannon lost their reelection bids. The open seat to replace Republican Tom Croci went to Democrat Monica Martinez. Incumbent Democrats John Brooks and Todd Kaminsky easily won reelection.
Brooklyn State Senator Martin Golden is 1,100 votes behind Democratic challenger Andrew Gounardes. Golden has yet to concede and will await the counting of nearly 3,000 absentee ballots.
Upstate the Republicans were able to keep two seats. In the race to replace retiring Senator John DeFrancisco (R-Syracuse), the Republican Bob Antonacci defeated Democrat John Mannion. Republican Daphne Jordan defeated Democrat Aaron Gladd to win the seat vacated by the retirement of Republican Senator Kathleen Marchione (R-Saratoga).
Democrats picked up a number of seats upstate. Assemblyman James Skoufis (D-Orange, Rockland) will move to the Senate after winning the seat left open by the retirement of Republican Senator Bill Larkin. Democrat Peter Harckham, a former Westchester County legislator, currently has a 2,100 vote advantage over incumbent Republican Senator Terrence Murphy. Democrat Rachel May won her race to replace outgoing Democratic Senator Dave Valesky who she defeated in the Democratic primary in September.
New York State Assembly Remains in the Hands of Democrats
There was never any doubt that the Assembly would continue under the control of the Democrats under the leadership of Assembly Carl Heastie (D-Bronx) in 2019. There will be 18 new Assembly members – 10 Democrats and 8 Republicans. Notable races include the defeat of Republican incumbent Ray Walter in Buffalo by Democrat Karen McMahon; the loss of the seat vacated by Democratic Assemblyman James Skoufis to Republican Colin Schmitt; and the loss by incumbent Democrat Christine Pellegrino to Republican Challenger Mike LiPetri. Longtime Assemblyman Bill Magee (D-Oneida) lost to Republican John Salka.
Democrats Win All Statewide Races
Governor Andrew Cuomo and Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul soundly defeated their Republican challengers Marc Molinaro and Julie Killian. The Republican ticket never had a chance to overcome Cuomo’s early lead in the polls or compete for campaign dollars to mount a competitive campaign. The Governor now has a Democratic Senate and Assembly and has set his sights on making New York the most progressive state in the nation. And, as his main theme throughout the campaign, he will continue to head the opposition to President Trump leading to the continued speculation of Cuomo’s interest in running for President in 2020.
Former NYC Public Advocate Letitia James defeated Republican Keith Wofford to become the State Attorney General. James is the first African-American woman to hold a statewide office.
Democrat Tom DiNapoli easily won reelection as the State Comptroller.
Three incumbent Republican members of Congress have gone down in defeat. In the 19th Congressional District, Congressman John Faso lost his Capital District/Hudson Valley seat to Democratic challenger Antonio Delgado. The race was even coming into election day. Delgado was able to win by a comfortable 8,000 vote margin.
In the Mohawk Valley’s 22nd Congressional District, Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi defeated incumbent Republican Claudia Tenney. Tenney had received considerable support from the White House and campaigned recently with the President Trump’s son Don, Jr.
Democrat Max Rose defeated Republican incumbent Dan Donavan for the Congressional seat on Staten Island by a margin of 52 to 46 percent. Congressional Republicans did not consider the Donavan seat to be vulnerable. The loss of the 11th Congressional District means there are no Republicans representing New York City in Congress.
As expected, former Assembly Majority Leader Joe Morelle will be heading to Washington to fill the Rochester seat left open by the death of Congresswoman Louise Slaughter.
Jill Muratori, Esq.