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Senate Democrats Confident About Winning Skelos Seat

Former New York state Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos
Karen DeWitt

Senate Democrats are optimistic about their chances for winning a special election in April to replace convicted ex-Senate Leader Dean Skelos.

Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart Cousins, in an interview with public radio and television,  predicts the Democratic candidate in the race for the Skelos seat, Assemblyman and former prosecutor  Todd Kaminsky, will do “quite well,” and represents “a break from the past.”

“Which frankly, voters out there deserve and need,” Stewart Cousins said.

Kaminsky faces Republican Attorney Chris McGrath.

The current leader of the Senate Republicans John Flanagan contends that the GOP candidate will be a success.

“Chris McGrath is going to play very well with the voters,” Flanagan said. “People are going to like him.”

If Democrats win, they would have the numerical advantage in the Senate, at 32 seats. But one Democrat, Senator Simcha Felder, sits with the GOP caucus, and is not expected to switch sides immediately. Republicans are expected to remain in control for the rest of the session. But Stewart Cousins says if more Democrats win in the November elections, where Democrats are favored overall in New York, then the GOP will be out.  

Senator Stewart Cousins says Democrats also will field a candidate in the race later this year to replace retiring longtime GOP Senator Michal Nozzolio of the Finger Lakes, but she admits the chances of a victory are slim in the heavily Republican district.

“It’s not quite a place that we’ve been winning,” she said.

Karen DeWitt is Capitol Bureau chief for New York State Public Radio, a network of public radio stations in New York state. She has covered state government and politics for the network since 1990.
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