ALBANY — Democrats were still fighting for control of the State Senate on Wednesday with a candidate who had a 33-vote lead over a Republican incumbent in Nassau County, according to complete but unofficial results.
With all precincts reporting, the state Board of Elections on Wednesday showed John Brooks, 66, of Seaford, a Republican running on the Democratic line, with 64,499 votes, while his opponent, Republican Sen. Michael Venditto (R-Massapequa), had 64,466 votes in the 8th Senate District in Nassau County. Absentee ballots have yet to be counted.
“John Brooks finished the night ahead and won the election,” said Senate Democratic spokesman Mike Murphy. “The reality is there are majority Democrats in the Senate. . . . The Senate GOP took a premature victory lap.”
If Brooks’ win stands, each party would have 31 votes in a chamber in which 32 votes control legislation. Conservative Democrat Sen. Simcha Felder of Brooklyn, who has sat with the Republican conference, would be the tiebreaker.
Felder has said he will side with whichever party controls the majority and can bring enough benefit to his poor district.
Senate Republicans said Wednesday that they were “seeking further clarification from the boards of election.”
Another factor in the control of the Senate is the Independent Democrat Conference of breakaway Democrats, who increased their ranks to seven members from five in Tuesday’s elections. IDC leader state Sen. Jeff Klein (D-Bronx) has said the IDC will remain a third conference in the chamber, dashing the hopes of mainline Democrats to rejoin forces against Republicans.
Instead, Klein and his members have worked closely with Republicans in various power-sharing agreements as well as with Democratic Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo since 2012.
On Long Island, a battleground for Senate control, Republican Elaine Phillips defeated Democrat Adam Haber Tuesday night to capture the only open State Senate seat on Long Island, while four other local Senate incumbents won re-election.
Republican Sen. Carl Marcellino of Syosset won a tight race against Democrat James Gaughran of Northport for the 5th District. Longtime state Sen. Kemp Hannon, a Republican from Garden City, defeated Garden City Democrat Ryan Cronin, 35, an attorney.
And in a rematch of a special election earlier this year, Democrat Sen. Todd Kaminksy of Long Beach won re-election in the 9th District against Republican Christopher McGrath of Hewlett.
Republicans won one competitive Hudson Valley race when state Sen. Sue Serino defeated Democratic challenger Terry Gipson.
With Celeste Hadrick