Change is coming for both parties in the New York State Senate.
Democratic state senators Todd Kaminsky, Diane Savino and James Gaughran have all announced they will not run for office. Another Democrat, Alessandra Biaggi, is a candidate for Congress. And there will be a primary between John Mannion and Rachel May in the Syracuse area due to new redistricting maps.
A few days ago, another Long Island Democrat, Senator John Brooks, also announced his retirement and then reversed his decision.
The numbers from the Democrats roughly echo those on the Republican side of the ledger, the senses. Phil Boyle, Patty Ritchie and Fred Akshar all having announced that they are not running for office. Additionally, there is a primary that will pit Jim Tedisco against Daphne Jordan in the Capital Region due to new cards.
Deputy Senate Majority Leader Mike Gianaris, who chairs the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee, said capital tonight that Senate Democrats are used to fighting and 2022 will be no exception.
Even so, he admits it will be a particularly difficult year with the president’s party historically struggling midterm.
“We saw it in 2014 and I think we can expect it to be a fight in 2022. But that being said, we’ve fought so hard as Senate Democrats in New York, and our political operation is second to none, which is why we have the largest majority the state has ever had,” he said.
When Gianaris says “we’ve fought so hard,” he’s referring to several years in which Governor Andrew Cuomo and a group of dissident Democrats called the Independent Democratic Conference (IDC) allowed Republicans to retain control of the upper house of the state.
But in 2018 and 2020, Democrats made the election a referendum on then-President Trump and won a supermajority in the Senate, despite lines drawn in 2012 by Republicans.
“Possibly the worst gerrymander in the country,” Gianaris said of those lines. “This process (again recutting) has already produced better lines than what we had, simply because they couldn’t be worse.”
However, this year is going to be difficult. With high gas prices, inflation and President Joe Biden’s polls underwater, plus Republicans picking up major victories on Long Island in 2021, the Democrats’ roadmap, even in the blue of New York, seems less optimistic than it has been for a long time. time.
When asked if he would focus on protecting incumbents or securing seats, Gianaris said both.
“What came out of [redistricting] the process for us was two majority-minority districts on Long Island that are strongly Democratic in their performance, so we believe we will also have opportunities for recovery. But of course we will defend the seats we have,” he said.
According to a spokesperson for Senate Democrats, the final special master cards included 39 secure Democratic seats.
Even so, Gianaris understands why many Democrats are very unhappy with the redistricting process.
“They should be upset. The courts decided to repeat this process at the end of the game. We now have a bifurcated primary election season. We believe what we did was within constitutional standards, but the courts have ruled otherwise,” he said. “I don’t think anyone expected them to rule that we didn’t have the power to draw the lines at all, which the constitution specifically provides for.”