by Jeremy Moule
It appears that the State Senate will, once again, operate with perilously thin margins.
A state judge has decided on the last unresolved Senate contest from the November elections. The judge ruled that Republican George Amedore beat Democrat Cecilia Tkaczyk in a district stretching from Montgomery County to Ultser County, with final counts placing him ahead by 39 votes, reports the Albany Times Union. Tkaczyk plans a further appeal, the Times Union says.
If Amedore's victory withstands the legal challenge, that would give Republicans the 32 votes they'd need to control the chamber, say media reports. But that number includes a Brooklyn Democrat, Simcha Felder, who's said he'll conference with the GOP.
The Republicans have also agreed to share control of the chamber with a breakaway conference of five Democrats, the Independent Democratic Conference. But that agreement predated final results in several close races. Even with the races decided, the Republicans' ability to control the chamber hinges on their Democratic allies. If Felder and the IDC were to return to the Democratic conference, Democrats would have the 32 votes necessary to control the chamber. (That number grows to 33 if Tkaczyk ends up winning her race.)
And yesterday, Democrats elected Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins to serve as their conference leader (YNN's Capital Tonight political blog has a good post on the vote). She replaces Senator John Sampson. That's an important development since, reportedly, the IDC members originally went out on their own because they were unhappy with Democratic conference leadership.