NY Senate Democrats’ future unclear as results come in

By Sabina Mollot

The New York State Senate, which is where tenant-friendly legislation goes to die, may remain that way for at least a couple of years longer, though some district results are still unclear.

Local Democrats had hoped to “ride Hillary Clinton’s pantsuit tails,” as State Senator Brad Hoylman recently put it, and gain a majority, but as of Town & Village’s Wednesday press time, two races were so close that there is a possibility of challenges and changes due to paper ballots.

In the 8th senatorial district, Democrat John Brooks got 45.47 percent of the vote compared with Republican Michael Venditto who got 45.44 percent, according to the unofficial results posted on the State Board of Elections website. In the 5th district, Republican Carl Marcelino was leading slightly with 46.73 percent, compared with Democrat James Gaughgran with 45.03, also according to the BOE’s unofficial results.

“There might be legal challenges,” said Hoylman, adding, “Sometimes these things take weeks to resolve.”

Hoylman, who easily won reelection against an Independent candidate, Rabbi Stephen Roberts, said he was trying to remain positive about the rest of the state. He didn’t want to speculate on the outcome of the close races, admitting attaining majority status “may take a cycle more than Democrats had hoped.”

But, he added, if the Democrats did win, a 32-31 majority could still be within the realm of reality if the Independent Democrats Conference, which caucuses with Republicans, chooses to align with mainline Democrats. He was also figuring Democrat Simcha Felder, a Democrat who conferences with Republicans, would continue to do so.

Mike McKee of TenantsPAC (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

Mike McKee of TenantsPAC (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

“For Democrats, control remains in play,” Hoylman said.

Less hopeful, however, about a Democrat takeover was TenantsPAC treasurer and spokesperson Mike McKee, who on Wednesday morning said, “Hillary took all the Senate Democrats down with her. Not a single one of the candidates we supported won with the exception of two incumbents. It’s very bad news for tenants.”

The two incumbents he mentioned were Todd Kaminsky of Long Island and George Latimer of Westchester.

While the 8th District race could go either way, said McKee, he doesn’t suspect there will be enough mailed in ballots or paper ballots to challenge Marcelino in the 5th district. Even with potential challenges and paper ballots from voters not on the books at a polling place and mailed in ballots that could be counted as late as Monday, “It’s not looking good for Democrats gaining control of the Senate,” said McKee.

Like Hoylman, however, he stressed that Wednesday was still too soon try to “read the tea leaves too precisely.”

Asked if there was anything for tenants of New York City to do at this point, McKee answered that there was. “Get drunk. For three days.”

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