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Skelos expects Hudson Valley senator to depart
RYE BROOK -- New York Senate co-leader Dean Skelos said Thursday that he expects one of his veteran Republicans won’t run this year, but still predicts he will pick up three or four more seats in this year’s elections.
Skelos (R-Rockville Centre) said he expects Sen. Greg Ball (R-Patterson) to announce soon whether he will seek another term. Skelos said he isn’t certain what Ball will decide. Ball, however, has committed himself to term limits, a measure he supports, but which isn’t law in Albany.
Still, Skelos said he expects several Republican wins this fall. But even if the Republicans win the majority, he said he will continue his historic bipartisan coalition. Republicans have a partnership with the Independent Democratic Conference. Together, they form a majority and run the chamber. “I want to keep that intact,” Skelos said.
Democrats currently outnumber Republicans in the Senate, 32-29, with two vacancies. But Republicans formed a "majority coalition" with six breakaway Democrats to control the chamber.
Skelos also told reporters he is a “full-throated Republican” and will support Republican candidate for governor Rob Astorino, the Westchester County executive. Skelos’ support will be important in helping Astorino secure the critical Long Island vote against Democratic Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo.
In his speech to the state Republican Party, Skelos recounted the question just posed to him by Newsday columnist Dan Jenison, and responded: “I can’t say it any louder: I support Rob Astorino.”
“I think he has a good shot,” Skelos said of Astorino’s chances against the popular and far-better-funded Democrat.
Skelos and Cuomo, however, have often worked closely in Albany on fiscal issues, potentially putting Skelos in a tough spot.
But Skelos told reporters he will strongly support Astorino.
“We have to end the exodus of our senior citizens, we have to end the exodus of our young,” Skelos said in his speech to Republicans.
He emphasized job creation: “Opportunity. That’s what it’s about, that’s what Republicans stand for.”