The Associated Press is reporting this afternoon that Republicans are poised to retake control of the state Senate following last month’s elections.
The final step in this process is delayed “pending another appeal by Democrats on Tuesday after a judge’s decision in the recount of a Long Island race.”
One political reality here is that the North Country appears to have dodged a bullet in terms of the region’s influence in the state capital.
If Democrats had held the Senate, then our legislative contingent — all Republicans — would have been completely isolated in the minority, and relatively powerless.
But now it appears that Betty Little, Joe Griffo and Patty Ritchey will head to Albany as members of the new majority.
What’s more, it is a razor-thin majority and caucus leader Sen. Dean Skelos will need every single vote to get things done.
That gives our lawmakers extraordinary leverage. Little and Griffo will also enjoy a new level of seniority and can be expected to move up the ladder in terms of influential committee assignments and chair-posts.
This doesn’t mean that the impact of the state budget crisis will go away. That $10 billion deficit is just too big and too ugly for us to avoid seeing some pain and some damage done.
But it will be a lot harder for incoming Governor Andrew Cuomo to shut down prisons, mothball Sunmount, or defund important tourism infrastructure with this region’s lawmakers back in power.