The Democrats are on the brink of retaining their supermajorities in both the state Assembly and Senate, despite Republicans flipping several seats and coming closer to victory in the governor’s race than they have in decades.
Republicans unseated three Democratic incumbents in Southern Brooklyn while flipping several more Senate districts on Long Island — but the Dems have nevertheless secured the 100 seats they need for a veto-proof majority in the Assembly, and they are just waiting on the results of one last race to know if they will do the same in the Senate.
Despite this, Republicans are happy that they made Albany inroads in deep blue New York after blasting the Democrats for their policies on crime and the economy.
“Any year that Republicans add to their conference totals is a good year. This is a chipping away process that will take time and 2022 was a step in the right direction,” GOP political consultant William O’Reilly said.
As of Friday the only Senate seat left to be decided was the Syracuse-area race between State Sen. John Mannion and Republican challenger Rebecca Shiroff.
Just a few dozen votes separate them, but a win by Mannion will give the Dems the 42 seats they need for a supermajority in the 63-member Senate.
Both parties were waiting on the results of a recount, which could take weeks.
“This is one of those one of those unusual situations where not just the outcome of one very close race is at stake, but the balance of power. It’s the yin and the yang between the executive and the Legislature that can have a tremendous impact on programs and their budgeting,” Larry Levy, executive dean at the National Center for Suburban Studies at Hofstra University, told The Post.
“In short, the allocation of billions of dollars, billions of taxpayer dollars could depend on whether the Senate has a supermajority or not,” he added.
An Assembly spokesman told The Post Friday they expect to wind up with 102 members after all races are decided. This would be a five seat drop from two years ago.
“It’s a vindication for the Democratic Party in New York, and despite the 11th hour hand wringing, state level Democrats proved more often than not their policies are in line with what New York voters want from their state government,” Democratic political consultant Jake Dilemani told The Post.
While Democrat Iwen Chu prevailed in a super-close Senate race in southern Brooklyn other candidates from her party were not so lucky in the outer boroughs and suburbs, amid a barrage of withering attacks over rising crime from Republicans supporting Rep. Lee Zeldin at the top of the ticket against Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul.
“It was certainly a combination of [GOP gubernatorial candidate Lee Zeldin] firing up Republicans and really encouraging people to come out and vote for him and also unfortunately a near absence of campaign efforts by the governor,” state Sen. Elijah Reichlin-Melnick said this week about his own loss to Republican Bill Weber in the northern New York City suburbs.
Longtime Assemblymen Steven Cymbrowitz and Peter Abbate Jr. fell in Kings County alongside Assemblywoman Mathylde Frontus in their respective races against challengers Michael Novakhov, Lester Chang and Alec Brook-Krasny.
Incumbent Democratic Sens. Anna Kaplan and John Brooks also lost their contests against GOP challengers Jack Martins and Steven Rhoads while Patricia M. Canzoneri-Fitzpatrick prevailed over Democrat Kenneth Moore in an open race in Nassau County.
Levy said it was no surprise that Republicans did relatively well in Nassau and Suffolk counties, considering the big wins they scored in local elections last year after blaming rising crime on controversial criminal justice reforms.
“The Republicans just continued the same campaign in 2021 that was so effective [and] even though there are more Democrats now than Republicans on Long Island, the Republican organization remains very strong,” Levy said.
Zeldin, a four-term congressman from Suffolk, also drove turnout on Long Island where he scored big margins against Hochul in a 53% to 47% loss that amounted to the best performance by a Republican statewide in decades.
His surprisingly strong challenge against Hochul and her “hot mess” campaign is credited with boosting Republicans in key congressional races on Long Island and in the Hudson Valley in their successful effort to gain a US House majority.
State Republicans say they will assail the Democratic majority from the political sidelines over the purported failings of bail reform and other progressive policies highlighted by conservative media during the campaign, but Democrats claim the elections show New Yorkers are on their side.
“Despite constant lies, fear mongering and coded attacks by places like the New York Post we were able to win because New Yorkers understood we deliver for all New Yorkers,” state Senate Democrats spokesman Michael Murphy said Friday.