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Third GOP senator announces retirement; boosts Democrats

Republican Sen. John Bonacic, seen in an undated

Republican Sen. John Bonacic, seen in an undated photo, announced his retirement on Friday. Credit: NYS Senate

ALBANY — Sen. John Bonacic on Friday became the third member of the Senate’s narrow Republican majority to announce retirement at the end of the year, bolstering a renewed push by Democrats take control of the chamber.

Sen. Kathy Marchione (R-Halfmoon) announced her intention to retire to care for her mother, and Senate Deputy Majority Leader John DeFrancisco (R-Syracuse) has said for weeks this will be his last year. A week ago he also suspended his bid for the Republican nomination for governor.

Currently, with these three senators, Republicans have 31 seats plus the critical support of conservative Democratic Sen. Simcha Felder of Brooklyn, giving them 32 total. Democrats, following two wins in special elections Tuesday, have 31.

Bonacic’s district -- which includes Sullivan and Ulster counties, and which he’s represented since 1999 -- now has more Democratic voters than Republicans. The state Board of Elections reports there are 70,720 Democrats and 57,297 Democrats, as of the April count.

DeFrancisco’s 50th Senate District in and around Onondaga County has 66,457 Democrats to 66,239 Republicans.

Marchione’s 43rd District, which includes Saratoga County, has a narrowing Republican edge among voters. The district has 62,339 registered Democrats, 67,676 Republicans and 6,010 registered Conservative Party members as of April’s count. Two years ago, state Board of Elections records show, the district had 58,464 Democrats, 66,414 Republicans and 6,076 Conservatives.

“Clearly the Republicans see the writing on the wall,” said Democratic Senate communications director Mike Murphy. “Democrats have gained 10 seats in 2 weeks, while three Senate Republicans have abandoned ship in just three days. And I am sure there are more to come.”

There was no immediate comment from the Republican.

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