News, views and commentary on Long Island, state and national politics.
Another veteran Republican senator has said he won’t run for re-election.
Sen. George Maziarz (R-Niagara) made the decision amid a federal probe of his campaign funds, The Buffalo News reported Sunday.
Maziarz, a 20-year Senate veteran, is one of the most influential upstate lawmakers, playing a big role within the GOP ranks and serving, at times, as an ally of Democrat Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo. Two Maziarz aides resigned last week, the newspaper reported.
The senator maintained his resignation had nothing to do with the investigation.
“I’m just tired. That’s why I’m not running,” Maziarz told The Buffalo News. “I’ve been doing this for 20 years, driving back and forth to Albany. Twenty years is a long time. My wife has wanted me to retire for five years.”
It’s another key departure for Republicans who are trying to hold on to their one power base in state government.
Earlier this year, Charles Fuschillo of Merrick resigned to take a private-sector job and Sen. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley) elected to run for Congress rather than for re-election -- turning two safe Republican seats into two competitive races on Long Island. In the Hudson Valley, Sen. Greg Ball (R-Patterson) also isn't running for re-election.
Currently, there are 29 Republicans in the Senate and 32 Democrats, with two vacancies. For the last two years, Republicans have held on to control by forming a coalition with six breakaway Democrats, thanks to an agreement between Senate co-leader Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre) and co-leader Jeff Klein (D-Bronx), head of the renegade Independent Democratic Conference.
That coalition appears near an end. Earlier this month, Klein and Cuomo said the IDC would rejoin mainline Democrats after the November elections, greatly increasing the party’s chance to regain Senate control.