New York Gov. David Paterson, a Democrat, is conceding that Republicans "probably" have won control of the New York state Senate, which GOP leaders say has important implications for the long-term balance of power in the U.S. House of Representatives.
No official winner has been named in three senate races in the Empire State. Republicans lead in two of those outstanding contests.
New York Republicans, including the current minority leader, Sen. Dean G. Skelos, have said they expect to take over the Legislative gavel in the next session.
According to a Friday report in the New York Post, Paterson told WOR 710-AM: "It is probable that Senator Skelos is right, that he will be the majority leader in 2011."
Republicans must win two of the three outstanding races to take outright control of the state senate. If they win only one of the contests, they would still wield negotiating power because the New York senate would then be deadlocked 31 to 31.
Republicans consider the balance of power in the state senate critical because 2010 was a Census year, which is always followed by redistricting -- the redrawing of the boundaries of the congressional districts that often determines which party's candidates are favored in subsequent elections.
In some states the governor oversees redistricting. But in New York, the process is controlled by the state legislature.
Ed Gillespie, the former White House counselor to former President George W. Bush who now serves as chairman of the Republican State Leadership Committee, says the outcome in New York is "very, very important."
He tells Newsmax that five Republican newcomers won election to the U.S. House of Representatives on Election Day. GOP leaders are worried their districts could be subject to gerrymandering.
"If we can win the New York state senate," Gillespie said, "or even tie it for that matter, those five freshman Republicans [in Congress] who just got elected Tuesday won't be immediately carved out of their seats through the redistricting process."
More than 2,000 absentee ballots remain to be counted in those three races. Observers say it will probably be a few weeks before the winners are certified.
Democrats served in the minority in Albany for over four decades, but took power in January 2009 after the Democratic wave that carried President Barack Obama into the Oval Office.
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