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Possible power distributions in down-to-the-wire state Senate races

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Control of the state Senate remained in limbo Wednesday, with three races still too close to call.

The results won’t be known until next week when recounts and the tallying of absentee ballots are scheduled, experts said. For now, Republicans have 30 seats to the Democrats’ 29.

The cliffhanging races were Democrat Antoine Thompson versus Republican Mark Grisanti in the 60th District (Niagara Falls and Buffalo); Democrat Craig Johnson versus Republican Jack Martins in the 7th District (Nassau County); and Democrat Suzi Oppenheimer versus Republican Bob Cohen in the 37th District (Westchester County).

Here are possible scenarios:
GOP majority:

Republicans need just two of the three undecided races for control, but if they sweep, that means three non-incumbents in Albany and fresh viewpoints. For Gov.-elect Andrew Cuomo, this Senate is an easier-to-predict and more manageable one. The Senate could also seek to vigorously prosecute those Democratic leaders under review in various corruption scandals.

31-31 tie:
A deadlocked Senate could mean years of suffering ahead for New Yorkers with potential infighting over how to close the $9 billion budget deficit and redistrict. The incoming lieutenant governor and Senate president, Robert Duffy, a Democrat, has a tie-breaking vote on procedural issues (though not legislation) but his wielding it will be controversial.

Democratic majority:
The best-case scenario for the Democrats gives them 32 seats and statewide political influence. The governor, attorney general, comptroller, U.S. senators and state Legislature would be Democratic. After tackling the budget and redistricting, gay marriage could on the table. A two-seat advantage, however, doesn’t mean much in dysfunction Albany, as proven last year when two Democrats switched parties in a coup.

(With Newsday)

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