Spin Cycle

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Could storm Sandy’s near-destruction of certain communities blow away the state Senate Republicans’ chances to grow – or even retain – their upper-house majority? Also, might the GOP face problems in other areas relatively unaffected of the storm?

Maybe it is just to inspire focus on the races, but operatives allied with the majority have been privately expressing measured concern.

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Assemb. Phil Boyle’s efforts to succeed fellow retiring Republican Sen. Owen Johnson are in emergency mode as Boyle faces off against Democratic Legis. Ricardo Montano for the seat.

On Sunday, for example, Boyle issued a statement announcing several locations at which voters can cast their ballots early, by doing so at the Suffolk Board of Elections in Yaphank. Rides are offered from locations in Lindenhurst, Babylon, West Babylon and West Islip for those short on gasoline or up against road closures. Some communities are always counted as key to various campaigns’ chances of success.

There is also a potential storm effect on the Addabbo-Ulrich race in Queens, as previously cited here.

In the Westchester seat vacated by retiring Democratic Sen. Suzi Oppenheimer, Republican developer Bob Cohen faces Democratic Assemb. George Latimer, whose attacks on his foe's business practices made waves before the storm. That has been one of the areas where the GOP hoped to pick up seats to pad its majority beyond the current slim 33-29 margin.

In central New York, the most recent polls have shown Democrat Ted O’Brien leading Republican Assemb. Sean Hanna. If O’Brien wins it will flip the seat to the Democrats because it is being vacated by Republican Sen. Jim Alesi. And there is also worry for the GOP in the new upstate district drawn by Majority Leader Dean Skelos. A Siena College poll released Friday showed Republican Assemb. George Amedore with only a small edge – less than the margin of error -- over Democrat Cecilia Tkaczyk,  47 to 44 percent.

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“The race, in this newly created senate district that was seen by many pundits as a seat drawn for Assemblyman Amedore, is too close to call,” said Siena's spokesman Steven Greenberg.