Governor Andrew Cuomo announced his brokering of a united Senate Democratic Conference, Assembly Majority Leader Joe Morelle (D-Rochester) has announced he will enter the race to succeed the late Rep. Louise Slaughter in the House of Representatives, and the latest on the 2018 Gubernatorial Race

NY Senate Democratic Conference/IDC Reunification Yesterday, April 4, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced his brokering of a united Senate Democratic Conference.  The eight-member Senate Independent Democratic Conference agreed to rejoin the mainline Senate Democratic Conference with Sen. Andrea Stewart-Cousins continuing as leader.  The IDC has been allied with the Republicans to form a majority conference and hold control of the Senate chamber since 2011. The reunification, narrows the Minority-Majority split, as the Democrats now control 29 seats, to the Republican-controlled 32 seats, including Democrat Simcha Felder who caucuses with the Republicans.  There are currently two vacant Senate seats, formerly held by Democrats, which will be filled via special election on April 24.  If the Democrats retain the seats, for the time being, the majority conference could be determined by Felder’s choice of caucus. However, should the Republicans pick up one of the two vacant posts, they would keep the majority with or without Felder.  Regardless of the results of the April 24 special elections, the November statewide general election could be the most significant Senate election in decades.

NY Congressional District-25 Seat Open Assembly Majority Leader Joe Morelle (D-Rochester) has announced he will enter the race to succeed the late Rep. Louise Slaughter in the House of Representatives.  Receiving the endorsement of Assemblyman Harry Bronson, Monroe County Clerk Adam Bello, and perhaps most notably, Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren, Morelle praised Slaughter, a beloved Congresswoman who passed away during her 16th term. Mayor Warren’s endorsement of Morelle comes at a time when the two have been vying for control of the Monroe County Democratic Party.  Governor Cuomo has not set a date for a special election. It remains unclear who will be named to the Assembly’s second-highest position, and Morelle’s departure from Albany could kick off competition among Assembly Democrats vying for political power.  Since 1979, the Assembly Majority leader has been a member representing upstate New York and has had at least 12 years of prior service in the Assembly.

2018 Governor’s Race Governor Cuomo is seeking a third term as Governor of the State of New York, and in his bid for re-election, it appears he will be facing challengers from both sides of the aisle. Former “Sex and the City” star and education activist Cynthia Nixon announced her candidacy to seek the Democratic nomination for governor on March 19.  Launching her self-proclaimed progressive platform based heavily on education and campaign finance reform, Nixon has criticized Governor Cuomo as a political insider. On the right, the GOP primary features a race between State Senate Deputy Majority Leader John DeFrancisco and Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro.  DeFrancisco, an Syracuse Republican and longtime state legislator, announced his bid for governor on January 30.  Although he recently lost a straw poll of GOP leaders, he has committed to stay in the race through the State Republican convention in May and will not seek reelection to the Senate come November. Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro kicked off his campaign for Governor on April 2 with a platform of promoting transparency in government.  He has been endorsed by a number of County Chairs ahead of the GOP primary. He formerly served as Mayor of Trivoli, as a State Assemblyman and as a Dutchess County Legislator.

The legislature is currently on a two-week break following the budget deadline.  When they return, more non-fiscal policy issues will be on the table. The state primaries are slated for September 13, 2018.  The general election will be held on November 6, 2018. Stay tuned for more updates as we move towards special elections, the latter part of session, and the 2018 New York legislative and gubernatorial races.