As of this writing, it remains unclear which party will control the State Senate in 2013. While the Democrats appear to have won enough seats to claim a 32-30 majority with one race still unresolved, Republicans may be looking to join with some Democrats to form a coalition to claim control.
Absentee ballot counting in the one unresolved race – for the 46th Senate District in the Capital Region – will not begin until the week of Nov. 19. Democrat Cecelia Tkaczyk leads Republican George Amedore by 139 votes, with over 8,500 absentee ballots to be counted.
Last Wednesday, Senate Democrats declared that they have gained a majority. Senator Michael Gianaris (D-Queens), who lead the Senate Democratic campaign effort, called the results “about as clear a mandate as ever about what direction the people of the state want the senate to go in.”
Senator Tom Libous (R-Binghamton) disagreed, saying “We believe that come Jan. 1 there will be an operating, functioning majority in the State Senate and we expect to be part of it.”
As a result, it may be some time before the Senate’s leadership situation is resolved and we know who will be in charge of the Senate in 2013. Those of us who were active in Albany in 2009 and 2010 – the last time the Democrats controlled the Senate – are hopeful that if they do emerge with enough votes to control the Senate that they do not make the same mistake they made before.
We can only hope that the addition of Monroe County resident Ted O’Brien – who counts job creation and property taxes among his legislative priorities – to the Senate Democratic Conference will ensure that the Senate Democrats understand the needs of Upstate communities, families and businesses.