State Sen. Michael Gianaris (D-Astoria) was in Rhinebeck Tuesday helping out Democratic Senate hopeful Terry Gipson, who is still awaiting the results of the general election. While almost a month has passed, ballots for two upstate seats are being still counted, leaving the control of Albany’s upper house in flux.
“We’re optimistic and confident,” Gianaris said of the Senate Democrats. “We had a great Election Day. We won 32 seats clearly, maybe 33.”
In the 2010-2012 session the Republicans controlled 33 seats to the Democrats’ 29.
The two seats in question include the seat of current Sen. Stephen Salaand (R-Poughkeepsie), who Gipson is challenging, and a new 63rd District seat near Albany created through the 2012 redistricting that state Assemblyman George Amedore (R-Rotterdam) and Democratic challenger Cecilia Tkaczyk want to win. Both races were so close on Election Night that recounts were ordered.
Republicans clearly won 30 seats overall while Democrats picked up 31. But the Democrats lost a member of their caucus when Sen.-elect Simcha Felder (D-Brooklyn) said he would vote with the Republicans. Both sides are also hoping to get the support of the four-member Independent Democratic Conference, led by Sen. Jeffrey Klein (D-Bronx).
The Poughkeepsie district includes Rhinebeck, which Gianaris said he visited to assist Gipson. As of press time, the Democratic challenger had a solid lead over Salaand, but Tkaczyk was trailing Amedore by 700 votes, the Associated Press reported.
Gianaris, who chairs the Senate Democratic Campaign Committee, said he still believed the Democrats would pick up both seats. He said the recount for the new 63rd District seat has been overseen by acting Montgomery County Supreme Court Judge Guy Tomlinson and that the Senate Republicans have objected to hundreds of ballots which Democrats say deserve to be considered.
“The gap in the new district is closing very rapidly,” Gianaris said.
The Queens senator said he hoped the ballot recounts could be concluded as soon as possible.
“There’s a lot of important work to do in the state,” he said.
Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at rhenely@cn
©2012 Community News Group
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