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Dems Gain Numerical State Senate Edge With Two Special Election Wins

Shelley Mayer was elected to serve the 37th District of the state Senate on Tuesday, tipping the balance of power in Albany to Democrats.
Shelley Mayer was elected to serve the 37th District of the state Senate on Tuesday, tipping the balance of power in Albany to Democrats. Photo Credit: Provided

Strong Democratic victories by Democrats in Westchester County and the Bronx give that political party a one-seat Senate majority. But Republicans will stay in charge through the end of the legislative session in June because of an alliance with Democratic Sen. Simcha Felder of Brooklyn. Felder has long sided with the GOP.

The most significant race on Tuesday was in Westchester County, where Democratic Assemblywoman Shelley Mayer of Yonkers easily defeated Republican Julie Killian of Rye, as reported here by Daily Voice.

The outcome could affect the balance of the state Senate, although not as quickly as some had hoped.

There was a party change from red to blue, which could be a sign of Democratic enthusiasm in the November midterm elections. Steve Stern handily won a Suffolk County Assembly seat long held by Republicans, and Mayer’s wide margin of victory indicated strong Democratic turnout.

Mayer declared victory Tuesday night, allowing Democrats to get back to their numerical majority of 32 seats in the state Senate. She filled the seat vacated by George Latimer when he became Westchester Couny Executive in January.

However, one of those 32 Democratic members is state Sen. Simcha Felder, who caucuses with the Republicans. Earlier on Tuesday, Felder said that he would continue to caucus with state Senate Republicans, arguing that it would be better resolve the matter after the end of session in June.

"I believe it is my obligation to prevent an unprecedented and uncertain late session political battle that will only hurt my constituents and New Yorkers," Felder said.

In her statement declaring victory, Mayer thanked Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New Castle and state Sen. Andrea Stewart-Cousins of Yonkers, the leader of the newly unified Democratic conference. Many in New York’s political circles believed that the race between Mayer and Killian would be closer than it was, potentially signifying trouble for Republicans statewide heading into the November elections, according to this report.

“This race was about finally bringing a Democratic majority to the State Senate so that New York can once again be a progressive leader we can – and should – be,” Mayer said in a news statement. “It was about the strength and energy of a big tent-Democratic Party where labor, Indivisibles, activists come together to fight for our shared values. It was about rejecting Trumpism and standing tall against bigotry as we fight for women's rights, victims of sexual misconduct, environmental protections, and common-sense gun control.”

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