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Republicans likely to remain in control of State Senate

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Democrats had hoped to make inroads into the State Senate- but preliminary results show the Republicans gaining one seat to hold a razor thin 32-seat majority.

Despite a corruption scandal among Republicans on Long Island,  incumbent GOP Senators apparently kept their seats, and won an open seat formerly held by a Republican.

In close races in the Hudson Valley, GOP candidates also held on , and in a Western New York swing district that includes portions of the Buffalo area, Republicans took the post back from Democrats.

If the results in the races, some of which are only a few hundred votes apart, hold, then Republicans would have a numerical majority with the required minimum 32 seats.

“Tonight, we have grown our majority in the New York State Senate,” said Senate GOP spokesman Scott Reif.

A spokesman for the Senate Democrats says some of the races are too close to call, though, and predicted that Democrats could actually pick up a couple of seats.

“With thousands of votes remaining uncounted in multiple State Senate races, we expect more Democratic candidates to win when all New Yorkers’ voices are heard,” said Senate Democratic spokesman Mike Murphy.

Governor Cuomo has been campaigning for Democrats to win the Senate, but none of the Democrats that Cuomo endorsed appear to have won on Tuesday.

The win by Senate Republicans also weakens the bargaining power of a breakaway faction of Democrats, known as the Independent Democratic Conference. Cuomo had been urging the IDC to form a governing coalition with the rest of the Democrats after Election day, anticipating that Democrats would pick up seats. Now the IDC’s only path to influence may be to form a coalition with the Republicans.  But if the numbers hold, the GOP could rule the Senate without  help from any Democrats.

Karen DeWitt is Capitol Bureau Chief for New York State Public Radio, a network of 10 public radio stations in New York State. WBFO listeners are accustomed to hearing DeWitt’s insightful coverage throughout the day, including expanded reports on Morning Edition.