Does anyone know the significance of that number? No, it’s not a new calculation on the debt burden we all carry for the state. Nor is it a potential new tax we may have to cover in 2011. It is the total number of votes that currently has the control of the New York State Senate up for grabs.
There are currently three “unresolved” races:
1. Senate District #7 – located on Long Island, the race pitted incumbent Craig Johnson (D) vs. challenger Jack Martins (R). As of today, Martins leads Johnson by 415 votes.
2. Senate District #37 – covering Westchester County, this race was between incumbent Suzy Oppenheimer (D) and her challenger Bob Cohen (R). After all of the districts were reported in Thursday, Oppenheimer has a 466 vote advantage over Cohen.
3. Senate District #60 – this district covers parts of Erie and Niagara Counties. It is a race between incumbent Antoine Thompson (D) and his challenger Mark Grisanti. Currently, Grisanti has a 598 vote margin over Thompson.
Needless to say, the lawyers and courts are now involved in determining who wins these ‘unresolved” races. It could take weeks, even months, to determine the outcome. If you recall, back in 2004 there was a contested race that ultimately wasn’t decided until February of 2005…several weeks into the next legislative session. Further complicating the issue this year is that a new process was used for voting. So there is very little legal “history” to review as it relates to previous decisions and court action.
What this should do is remind all of you that EVERY VOTE does count. Had 1,479 more people voted last week then perhaps we would know who will run the Senate and we could get on with planning for 2011. But they didn’t and so we must wait.
The good news is that there are many newly elected Senators and Assembly members waiting with us. How many? More than 30 between both houses. That’s means more than 17% (and potentially more if the challengers win the contested races above) of our legislature has turned over or moved from the Assembly to the Senate. That means that there will be more than 30 new people who haven’t succumbed to the often toxic culture of Albany. Those fresh new faces will help guide policy decisions in 2011.
A new legislative session is just around the corner. We look forward to working with our statewide and regional partners and many of the reelected and newly elected. New York is still teetering on the edge of a financial cliff. Let’s hope that the campaign promises are followed and that we, the voters, hold each and every member accountable for their decisions.
To quote a good friend and mentor: Onward and Upward!