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New York Senate: Seven Toss-Ups

One of the best political reporters in New York predicts which races will determine control of the New York Senate.

Tomorrow, we have New York State Senate primaries that are both interesting and substantively important. But, they're just an appetizer for the general election in which Democrats will try to become the first party with truly functional control of New York state government in decades and decades and Republicans will try to take back control of the New York Senate that was theirs for decades and decades.

Kudos goes to Liz Benjamin, one of the best political reporters in New York, for making the Senate elections a little easier to follow. She has a new online tool with a race-by-race rating of every Senate race in the state. That's what I consider pretty close to Holy Grail of state politics -- almost never will you see a knowledgeable non-partisan source prognosticate every race for a state legislative body.

Benjamin has seven toss-ups races. These include Republican-held seats in District 11, District 38 and District 40 and Democratic-held seats in District 3, District 48, District 49, District 58. Democrats currently have a supremely shaky 32-30 edge in the Senate. Assuming Andrew Cuomo is elected governor (a pretty safe assumption at this point) the lieutenant governor's office will remain in Democratic hands after the election. That means Republicans need a two-seat net gain to take back control.

The last two years in New York, though, have proven that there's a difference between nominal control and functional control. Democrats probably need a few more seats to govern how they please.

Josh Goodman is a former staff writer for GOVERNING..
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