The votes are in, but they're still being tallied and the outcome of some still close races could have a major impact on the balance of power in the State Senate. Capital Tonight's Nick Reisman has more on two tight races we're still keeping an eye on.
NEW YORK STATE -- Democrats are claiming a majority in the state after flipping at least two Republican seats and even leading in a newly drawn district in the Mohawk Valley. Terry Gipson is so confident in his victory over Republican Senator Stephen Saland, he's already getting his legislative staff lined up.
Gipson said, “We are laying out plans to move forward. We're hiring staff and we're starting to get our constituent services set up so we can start helping people right away.”
And Democrats are so confident that their chief fundraiser, Queens lawmaker Mike Gianairs, released an email declaring they had a solid majority.
But not so fast. The Democrats still come to terms with the four member Independent Democratic Conference, a breakaway group of lawmakers who sit separately, but have aligned themselves with the GOP. And there's still that small matter of holding victories in the absentee ballot count.
Saland said, “I've had a similar experience not too long ago in the primary. I remain optimistic that we'll go through this process. It may take days, it may take weeks. But when it's all over and done with and those voters have been heard from and we've counted all those absentees, I remain confident that we will prevail.”
Saland is down by 1,600 votes and would likely need more half of the absentee ballot count to make up the difference.
Elsewhere in the state, Democrat Cecilia Tkaczyk has a 139 vote lead against Republican George Amedore. It's a seat the GOP created during redistricting with Amedore in mind. Even though results won't be known for weeks, both candidates are declaring victory.
“Who would have thought that a woman who is a farmer, a mother, a school board member, someone who cared about her community actually could get elected in a seat that wasn't drawn for her,” said Tkaczyk.
Amedore said, “Well, we're waiting for every single vote to be counted and then we'll declare the final victory and I'm looking forward to being the next senator.”
Even if the Democratic conference is able to get the four member IDC on their side, they'll still have to negotiate with Brooklyn Democrat Simcha Felder. He won his race against Brooklyn Senator David Storobin, but hasn't committed to sitting with either the Republicans or the Democrats.