Come January, Democrats will still have a firm grip on power in Albany, with control of every statewide office and both the Assembly and state Senate.
But Republicans made inroads Tuesday, pulling off upset wins in a number of Assembly races in the city, and it remains unclear whether Democrats can hold on to their veto-proof supermajorities.
Of the 65 Assembly seats in the city, Republicans currently hold just two. On Tuesday, they gained as many as five more.
What You Need To Know
- Democrats currently have veto-proof supermajorities in the Assembly and state Senate, with Republicans holding just two of the 65 Assembly seats in the city
- Republicans flipped as many as five of those Assembly seats Tuesday, though two of those races remain too close to call
- Several incumbent Democrats suffered upsets, including longtime Assemblymembers Peter Abbate and Steven Cymbrowitz of Brooklyn
- State Senate Democrats lost seats on Long Island but likely gained two in the city, with Iwen Chu ahead in a too-close-to-call race in Brooklyn’s new plurality-Asian district
“It’s a big upset in Albany politics,” said Lester Chang, a Republican who scored one of the night’s biggest surprises, knocking off incumbent Democrat Peter Abbate, a 36-year veteran of the Assembly.
Chang won by almost five points in a south Brooklyn district that covers parts of Borough Park, Dyker Heights and Bensonhurst.
He says he ran a shoestring campaign.
“I just did strictly basic retail politicking, door to door, handshaking, and asked a very simple question: ‘Are you better today than you were two years ago?’” he said.
In another south Brooklyn district covering Gravesend and parts of Brighton Beach and Manhattan Beach, another longtime Assemblymember, Steven Cymbrowitz, lost by 21 points to Republican Michael Novakhov.
In Assembly district 46, covering parts of Bay Ridge and Fort Hamilton and stretching into Coney Island and Brighton Beach, the race has not been called. But Democrat Mathylde Frontus trails by three points against Republican Alec Brook-Krasny.
Brook-Krasny, a former Democratic Assemblyman who only recently switched parties, was indicted in 2019 in a fraud scheme but never convicted.
Meanwhile, in a Queens district that covers Ozone Park, Howard Beach and much of the Rockaway Peninsula, Democrat Stacey Pheffer Amato trails her Republican challenger Thomas Sullivan by just 246 votes in a race still too close to call.
And on Staten Island, Republicans won a seat being vacated by Democrat Michael Cusick, making for a potential net gain of five Assembly seats in the city.
It was a slightly different story in the state Senate, where Democrats lost seats on Long Island but gained them elsewhere.
“While others were struggling up and down the ballot, the state Senate came through with flying colors,” said Queens state Senator Michael Gianaris, who leads the Democrats’ campaign effort.
State Senate Democrats could register a net gain of two seats in the city, with Iwen Chu leading in a still too-close-to-call race in a new plurality-Asian district in Brooklyn.
Based on the current vote tally, state Senate Democrats would end up with a net loss of just two seats statewide, leaving them one shy of a supermajority.
“A supermajority would have been critical had Lee Zeldin become governor, but given now that we continue to have Democrats both in the executive and both houses of the legislature, I don’t think having the supermajority would have had very much practical consequence,” Gianaris said.
In the Assembly, where Democrats currently hold 107 of the 150 seats. Current vote totals would leave them with 101 seats.