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Democrats might fall short of supermajority in Albany

Posted at 3:12 PM, Nov 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-17 17:48:58-05

NASSAU COUNTY, L.I. — New York Democrats had high hopes this election year would bring sweeping victories allowing them to pass even more progressive legislation.

Instead, Republicans came out strong on Election Day and the excruciatingly slow counting of absentee ballots, mainly submitted by Democrats, have made results in key local races unclear.

Long Island Sen. Kevin Thomas declared victory after a hard-fought battle with Republican Dennis Dunne which featuring a lot of third party money spent on advertising.

Thomas, like many Democrats in key local races this year, trailed by several thousand votes on Election Night. However, he surpassed his opponent in the weeks since as absentee ballots were counted.

A similar “blue shift” appears to salvaged a win for Long Island Democratic Rep. Tom Suozzi, who was on the verge of an upset loss to little known Republican George Santos.

“We know this red mirage would turn out to be a blue ocean,” said New York Democratic Party Chair Jay Jacobs. “That’s what happened.”

Still, even with Thomas’s win, he is just one of eight races Democrats focused on in a quest to gain a veto-proof majority in the State Senate. They would need to claim 42 of the 63 seats. Democrats already have a supermajority in the Assembly.

The massive majorities would in theory allows the legislative branch to pass progressive priorities Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been resistant to, possibly including a millionaires tax.

It’s picked up a lot of momentum among progressives with the state facing billions in deficits in the coming years. But any legislatively pipe dreams will have to wait.

Local New York election boards are still tediously counting 1.2 million absentee ballots, weeks after most of the country is done counting.

“If we were a swing state we would face national ridicule,” Deputy Majority Leader Michael Gianaris said. The Queens Democrat said reforming New York’s dated and dysfunctional election system is also on the agenda next session. He is specifically proposing letting local boards prepare absentee ballots for counting as they arrive, and begin counting them on Election Day before the polls close.

Below are the key State Senate Races yet to be decided. In most cases Republicans are ahead after Election Day tallies. Many races still have ballots yet-to-be-counted from registered Democrats who voted absentee.

You can view up-to-date results here.

UNDECIDED SENATE RACES

Senate District 5: Long Island.

Incumbent Jim Gaughran (D) vs. Edmund Smyth (R)

Senate District 22: South Brooklyn

Incumbent Andrew Gounardes vs. Vito Bruno (R)

Senate District 38: Hudson Valley (open seat)

Elijah Reichlin-Melnick (D) vs. Bill Weber (R)

Senate District 40: Hudson Valley

Incumbent Peter Harckham (D) vs. Rob Astorino (R)

Senate District 42: Hudson Valley

Incumbent Jen Metzger (D) vs. Mike Martucci (R)

Senate District 46: Capital Region (open seat)

George Amedore (R) vs. Michelle Hinchey (D)

Senate District 50: Syracuse (open seat)

Angi Renna (R) vs. John Mannion (D)