ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — New York State Senate Democrats only need to pick up an additional two seats in this election to attain what’s called a “supermajority.” That would mean that they have two-thirds of the seats in that chamber, which could shape the state legislature for years to come.
If the Democrats gain those Senate seats, the legislature would have the ability to override vetoes from the governor’s office. That would give them more leverage when it comes to the negotiating process.
“A couple years ago, nobody would have thought we’d be this close,” said Michael Gianaris, Deputy Senate Majority Leader. “But we’ve managed in 2018 to achieve a historic majority, the largest Democratic Majority in over a century in New York.”
With several retirement announcements from current Senate Republicans this year, some races have no incumbent.
“What we’re feeling most optimistic about now are the Upstate cities—Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse—simply presenting great pickup opportunities for us,” Gianaris said. “They’re districts that were formerly held by Republicans who had some personal popularity but are democratic districts by registration. And now with the wave of retirements on the Republican side, our candidates have a better shot at winning.”
Meanwhile, Republican State Sen. Jim Tedisco says he “doesn’t even want to think of a supermajority.” His party is hoping to take back Republicans are hoping to take back some seats as well. “They already have a majority in both houses. They have the governor’s. And the promises they’ve made for Upstate New York have not been fulfilled,” he said.
Gianaris says he’s not sure that the legislature would need to override a veto, but that it would give Democrats a better position to advance their goals. “What tends to happen is when bills are negotiated the mere fact that that possibility exists changes everybody’s posture at the negotiating table,” he says.
New York State Assembly Democrats already have a supermajority. Senate Democrats currently hold 40 of the 63 seats.
“We’re going too far to the left, we’re going off the cliff. We have to have a carveout for economic development and job creation,” Tedisco says.
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