Democrats in the State Senate currently hold the largest majority in over a century, with 40 out of 63 members.
In 2018, Democrats took control of the Senate for the first time in more than 100 years.
Now they are poised to potentially gain even more control, being only two seats away from a supermajority.
“With the way things are going right now we’re feeling very optimistic, but if there’s one thing we learned in 2016 is that this is not decided before election day,” Deputy Senate Majority Leader Mike Gianaris said. “So we have to keep fighting and run through the finish line.”
A Democratic supermajority would allow the Legislature to override any vetoes issued by Governor Andrew Cuomo.
Democrats already dominate the State Assembly by a 2-1 ratio, and hold the power to override a veto as it is.
But if the Senate were to now also gain a supermajority, those like Senate Minority Leader Rob Ortt say this will allow the progressive left to push through bills unchecked.
“You would see more radical policies coming out of New York State,” Ortt explained. “I would tell everyone if you’re concerned about what’s happened in the last year and a half you should be very concerned about the results of a supermajority.”
Republicans say a Democratic majority in both houses has led the legislature to quickly pass bills that needed to be fixed shortly after, such as bail reform.
Ortt says legislation such as single-payer health care, parole reform, energy policies, and more, are all bills a supermajority would have an easier time pushing through.
However, Ortt says he is confident that the Republicans will be able to stop a supermajority from being elected.
“They basically turned the keys over to the governor to run the state all by himself so I don’t know if a super majority is going to make a difference,” Ortt said. “Because at this point it seems like one person running the state they don’t even have the desire to do their job today. So I would tell New Yorkers any more of them isn’t the answer let’s send different folks to Albany to really provide a check and a balance.”
Gianaris called these moves by Republicans fear tactics. He pointed to bills passed by the Democratic majority such as expanding early voting, codifying Roe v. Wade, and more.
“The Republicans are still out there throwing out these lies trying to scare the crap out of people,” Gianaris explained. “Republicans run campaigns based on fear and Democrats run them based on hope. And I am confident that when voters get to the ballot they’re going to vote based on their hopes not their fears.”
Ten long-term Senate Republicans retired this year, which means many eyes are looking to close races in Western and Central New York.
Democrats however, also have to defend seats they narrowly won in 2018, including a few on Long Island.