Silver’s Big Night (Updated)
It was a foregone conclusion that the Assembly Democrats would maintain their majority yesterday. The only question was by how much.
While we were all focused on the battle for control of the state Senate, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and the majority’s political arm, DACC, quietly racked up five wins last night, bringing the total number of Democrat-controlled seats to 106.
That is far over the 100 votes necessary for a veto-proof majority. (A two-thirds vote of the chamber is needed to override a gubernatorial veto).
Normally, this wouldn’t be a big deal. It was a presidential year in a Democrat-dominated state, after all, which traditionally bumps up turnout and benefits Democratic candidates up and down the ballot.
But this was no ordinary year for Silver, thanks to his handling of Brooklyn Assemblyman Vito Lopez’s sexual harassment scandal, which the Republicans used as a fund-raising tool and made a key issue in several races. (Wendy Long even tried to pin it on Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand during their one and only debate co-hosted at Skidmore College by YNN and NY1).
The GOP repeatedly called for Silver’s resignation from his leadership post and tried to force Democrats on the record as to their opinions on the matter. Generally speaking, most – including Gillibrand – have said the matter is under investigation by JCOPE and they’ll wait to see what the result is before making a decision.
That, for the record, is the stance taken by Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb, too.
Lopez easily won re-election to his Brooklyn seat yesterday. The Republicans’ candidates in the following races weren’t so lucky:
– 22nd AD. This is a new district on Nassau County, created during the redistricting process. Democrat Michaelle Solages defeated her challenger, Sean Wright, by a 2-to-1 margin. He’s actually a registered Independent, but received the GOP nomination.
– 93rd AD. White Plains Common Councilman David Buchwald defeated incumbent Republican Assemblyman Bob Castelli, who was seeking his second two-year term.
– 99th AD. This was an empty seat, thanks to the retirement of Republican Assemblywoman Nancy Calhoun. Democratic Woodbury Councilman James Skoufis defeated Republican Goshen Mayor Kyle Roddy in this race.
– 111th AD. This was the contest for the seat being vacated by Assemblyman George Amedore, who was thought to be a lock for the Republicans in the 46th SD, but now is locked in a tight race with the Democratic candidate Cecilia Tkaczyk.
Democratic Schenectady County Legislator Angelo Santabarbara defeated Republican Thomas Quackenbush, the Minden town supervisor and business agent for Teamsters Local 294. Santabarbara lost to Amedore in the 2010 Assembly race for the seat vacated by now-Rep. Paul Tonko, so this win is especially sweet for the Democrats.
– 127th AD. Another big win for the Democrats. This was a grudge match that pitted former Democratic Assemblyman Al Stirpe against current Republican Assemblyman Don Miller, who ousted Stirpe two years ago by 972 votes in a recount that took three weeks . This time, Stirpe’s win was decisive, 32,013 to 26,035 with some 5,000 paper ballots left to be counted.
There’s also a too-close-to-call race out on Long Island in Suffolk County’s 3rd AD, where Republican Assemblyman Dean Murray holds an unofficial lead of 36 votes over his Democratic challenger, Edward Hennessey, with thousands of affidavit and absentee ballots yet to be counted. Murray took office in 2010 after winning a special election. He won a full two-year term later that year.
Suffolk County was hit very hard by Sandy. It could be weeks before a winner is called in this race. If Murray’s lead slips and Hennessey wins, the Democratic majority will have 107 members.
NOTE: I accidentally switched the party affiliations for Murray and Hennessey. Mea culpa.
The highest number the Democrats have hit in modern history is 110, which they hit in 2010.
UPDATE: I see Politics on the Hudson is reporting that Republican Assemblyman Steve Katz, who compared Silver to disgraced Penn State football coach Joe Paterno, easily won re-election yesterday and doubled down on his negative comments about Silver in his victory statement.
|Print article||This entry was posted by Liz Benjamin on November 7, 2012 at 2:59 pm, and is filed under Assembly, Democrats, Sheldon Silver, Vito Lopez. Follow any responses to this post through RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.|