With the dust still settling from Tuesday's special election for the Long Island seat vacated by convicted former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, it appears that Democratic candidate Assemblyman Todd Kaminsky finished ahead in a very tight race.
As of early Wednesday morning, Kaminksy led the Republican candidate Chris McGrath by 780 votes in the district with all precincts reporting, according to data with the Nassau County Board of Elections. On Tuesday evening, Assemblyman Kaminsky, supported by local Democratic leaders, declared himself the winner. McGrath, for his part, indicated to the press that the vote count was too tight, and said that votes will need to be counted in the coming days. With such a tight outcome, many are predicting that it may be weeks before a winner is decided. Senate Republicans have indicated they will start re-canvassing votes early next week.
Because of the fractured nature of the Senate Democratic caucus, even if Assemblyman Kaminsky ultimately comes out on top, his victory will not change the balance of power in the Senate in the near term. A Kaminksy victory would mean that the mainline Democratic conference holds 26 seats in the 63-seat chamber. The breakaway Independent Democratic Conference (IDC), which has five members, is currently in a power-sharing arrangement with the Republican conference, which has 26 seats.
Meanwhile, Democratic Senator Simcha Felder also caucuses with the Republican Conference, allowing the Senate GOP to maintain a 32-seat voting majority, despite occupying only 31 seats in the chamber. With the presidential election looming in November, Assemblyman Kaminsky's victory, if realized, may be a sign that the Senate Republicans have an uphill battle ahead of them to maintain their tenuous majority in deep-blue New York.