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Republicans regain control of State Senate

The New York State Senate meets in the

The New York State Senate meets in the Senate Chamber at the Capitol in Albany on Thursday, Jan. 24, 2013. Credit: AP / Mike Groll

ALBANY -- Republicans regained sole control of the state Senate's majority Tuesday in a state dominated 2-to-1 by Democratic voters.

"New Yorkers have chosen balance and bipartisanship over an entire state government made up of Democrats from New York City, and placed their trust in Republicans to lead the Senate," said Senate co-leader Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre).

"The results of this election mean that Democrats and Republicans will both have a say in the decisions that will impact New York's future, and we will all be far better off for it," Skelos said.

A Republican majority could continue to block some of Democratic Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's agenda, including his drive to further protect late-term abortions, raise the minimum wage, and provide college aid to immigrants in the country illegally brought to the United States as children.

Republicans defeated three freshmen Democrats to get the 32 seats needed to control legislation, leadership appointments and resources in the chamber, according to unofficial results. State Sen. Simcha Felder (D-Brooklyn) is expected to continue to sit with the GOP conference, and the five-member Independent Democratic Conference could make that a more comfortable majority.

The IDC has shared majority control with Republicans in a historic bipartisan coalition.

Although the IDC had pledged to work to create an all-Democratic majority, IDC leader Jeff Klein (D-Bronx) on Monday provided no hint of his plans and raised more questions as he emphasized that he would work with Democrats and Republicans.

In May, Cuomo promised to help Democrats win the Senate majority as part of his deal to get the endorsement of the liberal Working Families Party. Some Democrats, however, have questioned how hard the governor campaigned for a Democratic majority against Republicans, who have been key allies of his on fiscal issues.

Among the critical matchups were:

The 40th District to fill the vacancy of the seat left by state Sen. Greg Ball (R-Patterson). Republican Terrence Murphy defeated Democrat Justin Wagner, a lawyer. The district covers parts of Westchester, Putnam and Dutchess counties.

The 41st District. Republican Susan Serino defeated Democratic state Sen. Terry Gipson (D-Poughkeepsie).

The 46th District. Republican challenger George Amedore, a former assemblyman, defeated state Sen. Cecilia Tkaczyk (D-Duanesburg) in a rematch. That district, created by Republicans in 2011, includes suburbs in Albany, Greene, Montgomery, Schenectady and Ulster counties. Tkaczyk won by 18 votes two years ago.

The 55th District. Republican challenger Rich Funke, a former local broadcaster; beat state Sen. Ted O'Brien (D-Rochester).

The 60th District. A four-way race was won by Democrat Marc Panepinto. Republican Kevin Stocker was second, state Sen. Mark Grisanti, running as an independent after losing the GOP primary, was third and Conservative Tim Gallagher came in fourth.

"We congratulate the Republicans," said Democratic conference spokesman Mike Murphy. "We remain committed to growing our economy, creating more jobs and passing a real minimum wage. We also remain committed to working with the governor to pass the full Women's Equality Act."

State & Region