ALBANY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — In Albany, the fight for the New York State Senate was too close to call early Wednesday, hours after the polls closed.
With most precincts reporting in unofficial results, it appeared two Republican seats would switch to Democrats, leaving the chamber tied 31-31. A new seat was too close to call.
It appeared Stephen Saland (R-Poughkeepsie), a Republican who voted in favor of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s bill supporting gay marriage, would lose to Democrat Terry Gipson. And in Rochester, Democrat Ted O’Brien eked out a victory over defeated Sean Hanna.
That seat is now held by Sen. Jim Alesi (R-Perinton), another Republican who had voted for same-sex marriage.
A new Senate seat pitted Republican state Assemblyman George Amedore (R-Amsterdam), against Democrat Cecilia Tkaczyk. The Associated Press deemed that race too close to call early Wednesday.
Republicans went into Tuesday with a 33-29 majority in the chamber that requires 32 votes to pass any measure.
Both sides claimed victory.
“We are confident that once all the votes are in, we will retain our majority,” said Scott Reif, spokesman for Senate Republicans.
Sen. Michael Gianaris (D-Queens), who led the Senate Democratic campaigns, also expressed confidence.
“It’s a great night,” he said.
Democrats would likely need to win at least a six-seat majority to have a clear hand in running the Senate. The four-member Independent Democratic Conference that has been closely allied with the Republicans will continue to operate independently and not automatically vote the party line.
In addition, if Democrat Simcha Felder – currently the New York City deputy comptroller for budget and accounting – wins in the 17th District in Brooklyn, he may sit and vote with the Republicans.
Some of the races may take up to two weeks to sort out as absentee ballots are counted.
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