- Associated Press - Wednesday, November 5, 2014

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - Despite the statewide tendency to return incumbents to the New York Legislature, losses by three Democratic state senators in hotly contested races Tuesday will keep the GOP in control of the 63-seat Senate.

Also despite a statewide 2-to-1 ratio party enrollment disadvantage mainly from New York City, the Republicans picked up two Senate seats overall for a total of 32. They’re expected to form a ruling majority again next year joined by Brooklyn Democrat Simcha Felder, a social conservative who joined with the Republican conference the last two years.

Their wins included George Amedore beating Sen. Cecilia Tkaczyk in the greater Albany area, Sue Serino beating Sen. Terry Gipson in the Hudson Valley and Richard Funke beating Sen. Ted O’Brien in Rochester.

Meanwhile Democrat Marc Panepinto beat Republican Sen. Mark Grisanti, running on the Independence Party line in Buffalo, as well as Republican and Conservative Party candidates.

Party affiliations among those elected or re-elected in the other Senate districts remained the same.

“New Yorkers have chosen balance and bipartisanship over an entire state government made up of Democrats from New York City and placed their trust in Republicans to lead the Senate,” said Sen. Dean Skelos, the chamber’s Republican leader.

He said their focus the next two years will be on making New York more affordable for the middle class, taxpayer relief and job creation.

Mike Murphy, spokesman for the Senate Democratic Conference, said its members were disappointed but remain committed to growing the economy and passing a higher minimum wage.

At stake is control of what legislation reaches the Senate floor for the next two years.

This year, the Senate was run by a majority coalition of 29 Republicans and the five-member Independent Democratic Conference, whose leader had lately promised to regroup with the mainstream Democrats.

In the Assembly, where Democrats have nearly two-thirds of the seats, they easily kept their majority.

New York’s legislators are paid $79,500 a year for two-year terms, with extra pay for committee chairmanships and travel and meal expenses. This year the Legislature was often in session two or three days a week from January through June.

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