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Republican lawmakers ready for challenge ahead

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Albany/HV: Republican lawmakers ready for challenge ahead
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STATEWIDE -- When it comes to governing, Senate Republican Leader Dean Skelos has certainly worked well with Governor Andrew Cuomo.

The Senate GOP has allowed votes on key legislative victories for the governor such as same-sex marriage and gun control. However, with the statewide campaign taking center stage soon, the Nassau County lawmaker is backing Cuomo's general election opponent.

"I'm a full-throated Republican so I support Rob Astorino, always have been," said Skelos.

If there were any overarching themes for Republicans at their state convention, it was unity.
It was clear to see a stark change from 2010 when the party was divided on its gubernatorial candidates. Having Republican lawmakers in the Senate on board could provide important support for Rob Astorino.

"We're all rowing the boat in the same direction. It's beneficial for me, it's benefical for them. I mean, we're going to win as a team or we're going to lose as a team," said Astorino.

State Party Chairman Ed Cox said Skelos still has to work with the reality that is Albany, and that means a divided government where Republicans are outnumbered.

"He's always been there in the political side of it. When he's governing he's got to make the sausage, work with the other leaders whether Democrat or Republican to get things done for the state of New York," said Cox.

Even though Skelos is predicting Senate Republicans will pick up three to four seats, if not get an outright majority, he does not believe that will impact the majority coalition with the Independent Democratic Conference.

"I want to keep that intact. I think it's worked well. We've had some differences of opinion. But that's good. The end result is getting results and I think that's worked well," said Skelos.

Keeping that majority coalition together may provide difficult for Skelos. Senator Greg Ball is not expected to run for another term, opening up the Hudson Valley Senate seat as a potential pick up for Democrats. There is also an open seat on Long Island thanks to Chuck Fuschillo's departure at the end of last year.

Nevertheless, Skelos is confident the seat can be kept in the GOP column.

"This is going to be a huge Republican year," he said.

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