Monday was the deadline for candidates to file their latest fundraising numbers with the state board of elections and we got a glimpse at the filings from dozens of State Senate candidates. Our Nick Reisman sheds some light on how the battle for control of the chamber might play out in November.
ALBANY, N.Y. -- Senate Republicans have seemingly everything when it comes to maintaining control of the chamber. They've got more money and good relationship with a popular Democratic governor, Andrew Cuomo. But Senate Democrats are still holding out hope, thanks to their huge enrollment advantage and the recently announced retirement of Long Island Senator Owen Johnson.
“I think I'm comfortable saying that I like our chances in western New York with a couple of seats. I like our chances in Long Island with a couple seats which have been enhanced in the last few days with the retirement of Senator Johnson,” said State Senator Neil Breslin.
But Democrats in the Senate are feeling the heat from nearly every side. Cuomo, for instance, refuses to back a complete Democratic takeover of the Senate.
Cuomo said, “I could see myself endorsing any individual regardless of party label depending on the position, depending on the individual.”
And Breslin, the deputy minority leader, has his own trouble. He's facing a primary from Albany County Legislator Shawn Morse, a primary that is supported by his fellow Democrats, the four member independent Democratic Conference.
“I'm disappointed that fellow Democrats involved in the race here, a fellow Democrat who is supported by Republicans,” Breslin said.
Then there's the issue of campaign cash. Republicans have a lot more of it and are already spending it. Buffalo Republican Mark Grisanti is already on the airwaves and a recent campaign finance report showed he's spent more than $120,000 on TV ads and mailers so far this year.
And yet, at this point, in the middle of July, it's probably too soon to tell who will ultimately win the majority. In 2010, for example, Grisanti's race against incumbent Democrat Antoine Thompson became competitive at the last minute. Grisanti won the race in a squeaker.
“We know of some seats right now that are expected to be very tight elections. There are likely going to be surprises that we're not even thinking about,” said Siena College poll spokesman Steve Greenberg.
And then there's the four member IDC, made up of Senators Jeff Klein, Diane Savino, David Carlucci and David Valesky, who have aligned themselves with the GOP. Control of the Senate could hinge on what the IDC does in aftermath of the general election.