Jonathan GordonApr 23, 2018, 7:15 pm

Special legislative elections could decide NY Senate control

Democratic Assemblywoman Shelley Mayer, Republican Julie Killian give final rallying cry to voters

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ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Voters in the Bronx and Westchester County will soon decide the winners of two special legislative elections that could have big implications for all of New York state.

Tuesday's state Senate elections may decide whether Democrats wrest control of the chamber from Republicans, who now have a one-seat majority in the 63-seat chamber.

In Westchester County, Democratic Assemblywoman Shelley Mayer faces Republican Julie Killian, a former member of the Rye City Council. In the Bronx, Democratic Assemblyman Luis Sepulveda faces Republican Patrick Delices.

Democrats are expected to easily prevail in the Bronx district, where registered Democrats outnumber Republicans by more than a 20-1 ratio. That's focused the attention on the race in Westchester, where Democrats have a much smaller advantage in party registration.

Even if they win both seats, however, Democrats must also persuade one of their own to return to the party fold. Democratic Sen. Simcha Felder of Brooklyn now sits with Republicans, meaning the GOP could retain control even if Democrats win a numeric majority.

Both seats were previously held by Democrats and became vacant when former Sen. Ruben Diaz was elected to the New York City Council and ex-Sen. George Latimer won the office of Westchester County executive.

Democrats already control the Assembly and hold the offices of governor, attorney general and comptroller. Republicans have held the state Senate for nearly all of the last 80 years. Democrats briefly won control of the chamber in 2008, only to lose power when two former Democratic members broke with the party to put the GOP back in charge.

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