‘Incredibly Promising’ (Updated)
Senate Democrats haven’t had much to cheer about this year.
But Democrats today are viewing the Thursday primary results — even if they haven’t solidified yet — as good news for them.
Senate Democrats argue the following::
-Albany Sen. Neil Breslin crushed his opponent, County Legislator Shawn Morse, who was funded by the breakaway Indepedent Democratic Conference. A Breslin loss would have been pretty embarassing for the Senate minority. Instead, he won by a wider margin this cycle then he did when he was challenged by Luke Martland in 2010.
-Tim Kennedy lives to fight another day. The Buffalo Democrat appeared to be in some trouble late last night until the remaining election districts broke his way. It seems likely the absentee ballots will also stay in his corner.
-Toby Stavisky and Adriano Espaillat also survived. Stavisky at one point seemed to be in some trouble, given the flood of last-minute campaign donations. Espaillat was facing a longtime rival, Assemblyman Guillermo Linares. In both those cases, as with Breslin, it was Gov. Andrew Cuomo who came in and endorsed (see this Liz post from earlier on the power of the Cuomian endorsements).
-Sen. Shirley Huntley lost. The loss of the under-indictment Queens Democrat is not being cried over.
-Senate Republicans took a hit in two out of three contest primaries. Sens. Roy McDonald and Steve Saland are both in narrow absentee ballot counts, with McDonald in a 200-plus deficit.
“The results were incredibly promising for us,” said Sen. Michael Gianaris, the chairman of the Senate Democratic Campaign Committee. “Every incumbent we wanted to return won. The one that did not win is going to be replaced by someone who is going to be a good member of our conference.”
Gianaris said the national trend of moderate Republicans being knocked off by “extremist” primary opponents is happening in New York.
“The Republicans are mirroring their counterparts on the national level,” he said. “Clearly the effect nationally of extremists beating moderate incumbents in primaries is in here in New York.”
No one really expected Saland to do so poorly in his primary versus Neil DiCarlo and it remains unclear if McDonald will stay through November if he has just the Independence Party line.
“We had a target rich environment to begin with and now it’s expanding,” Gianaris said.
And while Gianaris stressed that Democrats “didn’t spend a dime” defending seats compared to the GOP effort, the Democratic candidates in the newly vulnerable Republican areas aren’t necessarily well known, nor are they considered clear-cut winners.
“The short answer is yes,” Gianaris said when asked if the challengers can be competitive.
Republicans, however, still have their own shot at flipping seats in Westchester County and Queens as well as the newly drawn district outside of Albany, where well-organized and well-funded candidates are running.
Democrats counter that the district held by outgoing GOP Sen. James Alesi is a likely pick up and continue to not rule out Sen. Mark Grisanti losing in his Demcoratic-heavy seat.
The Senate is divded 33-29.
Then there’s the four-member IDC.
The conference of Sens. Jeff Klein, David Carlucci, Diane Savino and David Valesky did help Morse and sought to temper rumors they were backing other candidates in Democratic primaries.
Though Democrats in the remaining conference may want to play let’s make a deal with Klein come the end of the year, the IDC’s defacto leader has given no indication he’s ready to return to the fold.
Klein in an interview said he had no regrets about backing Morse.
“We backed him and it’s very hard trying to overthrow a 15 year incumbent,” Klein said. “History tells us sometimes it takes two cycles not one. I look forward to supporting Shawn Morse in his future poltiical endeavors.”
Update: Scott Reif, spokesman for the Senate GOP, responds.
“Conveniently left out of Senator Gianaris’ primary post-mortem is that his candidate in the 60th Senate district, Chuck Swanick, was soundly defeated by his Democrat opponent, and yet another Senate Democrat was turned away in the wake of a corruption scandal. How can it ever be a good day for Senate Democrats when Republicans have better candidates, more money and are right on the issues?”
(Gianaris insists the DSCC had no favorite in the primary).
|Print article||This entry was posted by Nick Reisman on September 14, 2012 at 3:36 pm, and is filed under State Senate. Follow any responses to this post through RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.|