Felder to Caucus With the GOP, Handing Republicans Control of Senate

NEW YORK -
Sen. Simcha Felder talks to Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan in the Senate Chamber last year. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)
Sen. Simcha Felder talks to Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan in the Senate Chamber last year. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)

Democrat Simcha Felder will again caucus with the Republicans for the next term, handing the GOP their majority to control New York’s upper chamber of legislative government.

The Brooklyn Democrat, who has caucused with Republicans since his election four years ago, played kingmaker this year. The Senate, which has 31 Democrats and 30 Republicans — with two races still undecided — has been the sole bastion of GOP rule since World War II, aside for two brief periods in 1965 and 2009.

Felder’s support, announced Monday, keeps it that way. It also assures that the seven-member Independent Democratic Conference will continue their alliance with the GOP.

Unsurprisingly, Republicans welcomed Felder’s announcement while Democrats denounced it.

Senate GOP spokesman Scott Reif called Felder “an important member of our conference and we have great respect for him both as a person and a public servant.”

Democratic spokesman Michael Murphy said, “any Democrat who joins with Donald Trump’s Republican Party enables his continuing assault on immigrants, women, people of color, people of different faiths.”

Meanwhile, officials began counting votes on Monday in two races too close to call. Incumbent GOP Sen. Carl Marcellino holds a 2,500-vote lead over Democrat James Gaughran and is expected to win. On Long Island, Democrat John Brooks holds a slim 33-vote lead over incumbent Michael Venditto, with thousands of write-in votes still to be counted.