ALBANY — When Sen. Michael Gianaris was selected to be the Chairman of the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee of the New York State legislature, party stalwarts were pleased with the choice of the Dynamic Greek-American from Astoria.
This week the committee will report that “over the past six months, it paid off the remaining $665,000 of what had been a $3.1 million debt in January 2011,” according to the Daily News, adding that “State Senate Democrats head into this year’s crucial fight for control of the chamber debt-free for the first time in three years.”
Any money the Democrats raise from this point on can be directed to campaigns for the elections in November. “We managed to win four seats in 2012 with the debt still hanging over our heads,” Gianaris told the News. “While we had success with one hand tied behind our back, we’re feeling great about 2014, now that our financial house is in order.”
The goal of New York Democrats has been to wrest control of the Senate from the Republicans who have long controlled it, and Gianaris and his colleagues on the committee did their part, winning four seats that gave their party a total larger than the Republicans’.
However, five Democrats broke away to form a coalition with the Republicans, enabling the later to remain in control led by another Greek-American, Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos
There are many more Democrats than Republicans in New York States, but Senate Democrats trail the Republicans, who have more than $2 million on hand.
Nevertheless, Democrats are optimistic because at least two Long Island seats held by Republicans will open up, and it is possible that Greg Ball may run for Putnam County executive, putting his Republican seat in play as well.
Senate Republicans feel their financial edge will enable them to prevail in November. .
Their message will be that when the Democrats were in charge in 2009 and 2010 their tenure was dominated by scandal, dysfunction and tax increases. “Nobody wants to go back to that,” Reif told the News. .
Reif also cited recent Republican gains local races last year as good signs.
Even with Democratic gains, the Republicans’ coalition with the breakaway Democrats coalition may allow them to stay in power.