Written by Joe Scotchie Friday, 26 November 2010 00:00
As of press time, the recount for the New York State’s 7th Senate District was completed. Mineola Mayor Jack Martins has a 403-vote lead over the incumbent, Sen. Craig Johnson with all the undisputed ballots counted.
There are 879 contested paper ballots awaiting a judge’s review. As noted in editions of Anton Newspapers last week, Board of Elections Democratic Commissioner William Biamonte said that the count could last well into November and that indeed, has turned out to be the case.
However on last Thursday, New York Supreme Court Judge Jonathan Lippman issued an administrative order that the Johnson-Martins race, plus two other state senate races undergoing recounts must be completed by Monday, Dec. 6.
The state senate recounts matter tremendously, since control of that chamber is on the line with those final totals.
Going into the Nov. 2 election, the Democrats held a slim 32-30 lead over the Republicans. The former party, long a minority in the state senate, grabbed control of that chamber in the Democratic Party sweep of 2008. Two years later, it was the GOP’s turn to run up a national victory. In New York, the Republicans, even though they were non-competitive in important statewide races, picked up five and possibly seven congressional seats. The Johnson-Martins recount may well determine if they regain their old state senate majority as well. On election night, the GOP held slender leads in not just the 7th SD, but also in western New York’s 60th SD, where a similar recount between incumbent Senator Antoine Thompson and Republican challenger, Mark Grisanti is also underway. A third close race is in Westchester County, where the incumbent Democrat, Suzi Oppenheimer holds a slim lead over her Republican opponent, Bob Cohen. On election night, the GOP gained state senate seats in Suffolk County and one covering parts of St. Lawrence, Oswego, and Jefferson counties. The Democrats picked off two GOP seats; one in Rockland County and a northeastern Queens district that had been held for years by Frank Padavan. If the state senate ends up in a 31-31 deadlock, then the Democrats, by virtue of keeping the governor’s chair, will hold the tie-breaking majority in the person of Lt. Governor-elect Robert Duffy.
During the recount, both the Johnson and Martins camps have expressed optimism in the official results, while also accepting that patience is required while the recount takes place. As also noted in last week’s issue, Biamonte took a swipe at the new method of tabulating votes, preferring a return to the old voting machines, a sentiment that has been seconded by longtime New York voters.