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Wednesday, July 30, 2014
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No surprises in local election results, but Klein now holds key to Senate majority

By Adam Wisnieski
Posted

There were no big surprises in local races on Election Day, but there was a shocker in state politics.

Incomplete results show that Democrats may have taken back the State Senate, depending on whether they can count state Sen. Jeff Klein and his three fellow members of the Independent Democratic Caucus as being on their team.

Though some of the races are too close to call, Democrats appear to have picked up three seats in the Senate — resulting in a possible 33 to 30 seat majority.

Mr. Klein, who ran on the Democratic, Republican, Working Families and Independence lines and easily won re-election, formed the Independent Democratic Caucus in January 2011. The group of four legislators — which votes with both sides of the aisle — could play a pivotal role in a divided Senate.

In May, Mr. Klein told the Benjamin Franklin Reform Democratic Club that he would not support a Republican for Majority Leader, but that he would also not support “any old Democrat” for the post. Specifically, he said he would not back current Minority Leader John Sampson.

If the Dems do pick up three seats, the only way they will have a shot at regaining control of the Senate would be by getting behind a Majority Leader the IDC supports.

“In the sprit of the Ben Franklin Club … its not important you have any old Democrat, but the right Democrat,” Mr. Klein said in May.

He didn’t elaborate on who was the right Democrat, but did mention at the meeting he would support state Sen. Adriano Espaillat.

In other local races, Democratic incumbents won easily.

In the tightest race, Democrat Rep. Eliot Engel beat Republican challenger Joe McLaughlin in the newly drawn congressional District 16. Mr. Engel had 77.5 percent of the vote, compared to Mr. McLaughlin’s 21.4 percent, with 84 percent of precincts reporting.

Democrat Rep. Charles Rangel trounced  his two challengers in Congressional District 13, which includes a sizeable chunk of the Bronx, including much of Kingsbridge, Kingsbridge Heights and Van Cortlandt Village. Mr. Rangel has 90 percent of the vote, compared to Republican candidate Craig Schley’s 6.3 percent, with 99 percent of precincts reporting.

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