posted by Josh Goodman
I queried folks here at NCSL's annual meeting in Nashville as to whether Democrats were in a position to take control of the New York Senate. The consensus answer: Yes, but not this year.
Democrats currently hold the New York House, while the Republicans maintain an edge in the Senate, an arrangement that has existed since 1974. And it really is an arrangement -- when the legislature redistricts each decade, the lines are drawn to keep each party in control of its respective house.
Nonetheless, New York is a Democratic state and it's tough to draw lines that give Republicans a majority. Currently, the G.O.P has a relatively slim 35-27 edge. As a result, the New York Senate is the only legislative house in any of the nation's four most populous states, California, Texas, New York and Florida, that has any chance of switching parties in the next few years.
Tim Storey, NCSL's elections guru, pointed out that Democrats have even more advantages than usual in New York this year. Besides President Bush's unpopularity in the state, having Eliot Spitzer as a heavy favorite for governor and Hillary Clinton cruising toward reelection could help with downballot elections.
But, Storey didn't list the New York Senate as one of the top ten legislative battlegrounds.
Those are after the jump.
Storey said he "wouldn't be shocked," by a Democratic takeover, but it seems there are enough strong Republican incumbents that it isn't likely.
Michael Davies, executive director of the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, also wasn't inclined to make any bold predictions, noting that Republican senators in the Empire State have been successful at appealing to Democratic constituencies. Both thought, however, that there's a good chance the Democrats will win the majority by 2010.
For his part, Alex Johnson, the executive director of the Republican Legislative Campaign Committee, wasn't willing to concede anything. But he did acknowledge that the political climate in New York wasn't pretty for his party this year.
By the way, the battlegrounds that did make NCSL's list included: Colorado (House and Senate), Indiana (House), Iowa (House and Senate), Maine (House and Senate), Minnesota (House), Montana (House), North Carolina (House), Oklahoma (Senate), Oregon (House) and Tennessee (Senate).