The state Board of Elections will not starting counting the over 1 million absentee ballots returned so far, until at the earliest Friday.
All 213 Legislative seats were up for reelection this year, but results for some of these races is still in limbo.
Yet, this did not stop state Republican Leaders from calling a few races early, saying they will be farther ahead than people thought going into Tuesday.
“What you saw last night was a repudiation of one party rule,” Senate Minority Leader Rob Ortt explained. “It was repudiation, there’s no other way to slice it. In a blue state where President Biden won, where you have record turnout, Republicans picked up seats last night.”
All eyes were on the state Senate since Democrats held 40 seats at the beginning of the year and were only two seats away from a supermajority. This would give them the power to override any vetoes issued by the governor.
As it stands right now, Democrats feel they have confidently secured 36 out of the 63 Senate seats.
While it seems less likely now that they will gain a supermajority, there are eight races that are still undecided since a hefty number of absentee ballots are waiting to be counted in these districts.
“I’ll let them have their moment and have fun with it but they’re going to look pretty foolish a couple weeks from now,” Deputy Senate Majority Leader Mike Gianaris explained. “We advised a lot of our candidates months ago when we saw these absentees rolling in, that they should expect to be trailing on election night and not to be alarmed.”
For example, in the 46th Senate District race, Republican candidate Richard Amedure is ahead of Democrat Michelle Hinchey by a little over 8,000 votes. However, there are over 37,000 absentee ballots that have yet to counted.
The same however could be said for the 56th Senate District race. Democrat Jeremy Cooney has right now a very small lead against Republican Mike Barry with only 882 more votes. Yet, there are over 46,000 absentee ballots that have been returned to this district so far.
Ortt says they are comfortable waiting on all the votes to be added up, but believes the tide will turn in their favor. Republicans are confident they will pick up at least four Senate seats.
Ortt says bail reform changes and anti-police rhetoric coming from Senate Democrats is now being reflected in preliminary election results.
“People across the state, poll after poll said I don’t support this. This is too far,” Ortt said. “And then it went beyond that with the repeal of 50a. It went beyond that with talking about defunding the police.”
Gianaris disagreed with this analysis, saying that Democratic losses were reflected not just in the State Senate but across the Democratic ticket.
“The Assembly is also in a position where they had some struggles with their candidates, our congressional delegation is going to be smaller in terms of Democrats,” Gianaris said. “So you’re looking at something that had a broad purpose behind it and it looks like for whatever reason Donald Trump performed better than a lot of people thought and that had consequences up and down the ballot.”
When it comes to redistricting in 2022, due to a 2014 Constitutional amendment, Senate Democrats would have needed a 42 member supermajority to control the process, whereas Republicans would only need a majority of 32 members.