Capitol Notes

The state senate’s evolving landscape

Heading into election night the Democrats controlled 40 seats in the state senate.

Here’s what has definitely happened: Republicans lose three seats and Democrats lose one

Out in western New York, Democrats Samra Brouk, Jeremey Cooney and Sean Ryan are all winning their races for open seats previously controlled by the GOP, according to in-person vote tallies by the state Board of Elections. Their leads should only grow based on the makeup of the absentee ballots that will likely be counted later this month.

On Long Island, it is virtually impossible for freshman Democrat Monica Martinez to make up her 13,767 deficit in in-person voting, based on the universe of returned absentee ballots.

Here’s what will likely happen: Democrats hold Harckham and Carlucci seats

Republican Rob Astorino has an 8,059 vote lead over Democratic freshman Pete Harckham, based on in-person voting. Based on the latest number (I have) of returned absentee ballots, Harckham is well positioned to make up the deficit from in-person voting.

Assuming returned absentees from Democratic and Working Families voters break for Harckham and the absentees from GOP and Conservative voters go for Astorino, Harckham would just need to hang on to about 30 percent of the remaining returned absentees, largely from unaffiliated voters, in order to cement his comeback.

The variable in the 40th Senate District projection is the unreturned absentees, but there isn’t any reason to expect they’ll deviate greatly from what has been returned so far and it’s unlikely that they will drastically increase the pool of total absentees that are counted.

The picture is even better for Democrat Elijah Reichlin-Melnick’s bid to succeed David Carlucci, despite his current in-person voting deficit of 3,149 votes. Making the same assumptions about returned absentee ballots, Reichlin-Melnick would hold the seat if he only wins the support of absentees from Democratic and Working Families voters, who make up nearly 60 percent of the returned absentees so far.

Emerging trends: Goodbye Metzger, hello Mannion?

It seems unlikely that Democratic freshman Jen Metzger will be able to hold on to her seat in the Hudson Valley, where she trails by 10,631 in-person votes, according to the state BOE.

While half the returned absentees are from Democratic or Working Families voters, she would need to win about 71 percent of all returned absentees to win. Assuming absentees from Democratic, Working Families, Republican and Conservative voters all break for their candidates, Republican Mike Martucci needs to win just 18 percent of the remaining absentees to join the senate.

In the Syracuse-area, Democrat John Mannion has reason to believe he can make up the 7,228-vote lead that Republican Angi Renna has built up from in-person voting in the 50th Senate District, which had been controlled by the GOP.

If the returned absentees from Democratic, Working Families, Republican and Conservative voters follow a partisan breakdown, Mannion can successfully come back with 49 percent of the remaining absentees that were returned. Because this one is so tight, though, the makeup of the absentee ballots that trickle in before next week are extremely important.

Long road to hoe for Democrats: GOP eye three pickups and cling to one of their own seats

The lone remaining pickup opportunity for the Democrats is the open race for 46th Senate District, where Republican Richard Amedure built up a 8,171 vote lead from in-person voting, according to the state BOE.

Democrat Michelle Hinchey would need to win about two-thirds of all the returned absentees in order to make a comeback, which is possible considering more than half those votes are from Democratic and Working Families voters and only a fifth of them are from Republican and Conservative voters.

All that being said, the race is far from a lock for either party.

On Long Island, freshmen Democrats Jim Gaughran and Kevin Thomas need to dig themselves out of their in-person voting holes of 13,848 votes and 7,837 votes respectively. While on the face of things, the latter would seem easier to overcome, many more absentees have been returned so far in Gaughran’s race.

In order for Republican Edmund Smyth and Dennis Dune to maintain their leads they each need to win about a third of the returned absentees, which is a reasonable assumption based solely on the partisan breakdown. Based on voting trends of unaffiliated voters, though, Democrats have reason to remain optimistic about hanging on to their seats.

In Brooklyn, where Democrat Andrew Gounardes is hoping for a second term, it is hard to forecast what’s happening, although I would rather be Republican Vito Bruno at this point, with his 6,035 vote lead among in-person voters

I’m perplexed by this district because less than half the registered voters in this district have cast a ballot, either in-person or through absentees, based on local and state data. So could there be a batch of uncounted voters Additionally, Democrats in this district disproportionately support Donald Trump, so it’s hard to make assumptions about the outstanding absentee ballots based solely on party registration.

Best Guess

Democrats will control 39 to 41 seats in 2021 and Republicans will have between 22 and 24 members. On the extreme end of things, the Republican minority could be as large as 26 seats and the Democratic majority could be as big as 44 seats.

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