A special election Tuesday in New York decided the fates of 11 open seats in the state legislature — including two key Democratic victories in the state Senate.
Democrat Luis Sepulveda easily won his race in the 32nd District in the Bronx, where he was heavily favored.
Democrat Shelley Mayer also defeated Republican Julie Killian in a closely watched contest in the 37th District in part of Westchester, New York’s northern suburbs. Mayer’s victory in the swing district is a reassuring sign for Democrats as they try to take full control of the state Senate in the fall.
The results for the two state Senate races are below:
Democrats had hoped that that they might be able to take full control of state government with this special election — but the balance of power in Albany will remain unchanged. Democrats have power in the Assembly and the governorship, but Republicans will maintain their one-vote majority in the state Senate.
That’s because state Sen. Simcha Felder, a Democrat who votes with the Republicans, decided as voters were headed to the polls that he would stick with the GOP.
Democrats had hoped that their two victories might convince Felder to unify with the rest of his party. But Felder put an end to the speculation with his Tuesday afternoon announcement, pledging loyalty to the Republicans, at least through the legislative session, which ends in June.
Felder hasn’t totally spoiled election night for the Democrats. Victories in these Senate races — including in the critical swing district, the 37th — are good omen as the party tries for state control in 2018. Every senator is up for reelection in November, and progressives are hoping Democratic enthusiasm nationwide will finally, and officially, turn New York blue.