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The New York State Senate chamber. Photo: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/-jvl-/with/5194328403/#photo_5194328403">JvL</a>, CC <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/deed.en">some rights reserved</a>
The New York State Senate chamber. Photo: JvL, CC some rights reserved

GOP gains a Democrat in NYS Senate

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Senate Republicans have gained one more member in the fight for control of the chamber. Newly elected Brooklyn Democrat Simcha Felder says he'll sit with the GOP.

Felder is very valuable addition for Republicans trying to retain control of the Senate. In the current count from last week's voting, Democrats have won 31 seats, and Republicans have won 30. Two races are still being tallied.

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Reported by

Karen DeWitt
NYS Capitol Correspondent

The current Senate Majority Leader, Dean Skelos, says he’s "pleased to welcome" Felder to the Senate Republican Conference, and that the newly elected Democratic senator shares the GOP’s priorities of  economic development and job creation.
 
Felder says he chose to caucus with those Senators who will best serve the communities he represents.
 
Senate Leader Skelos says Senator Felder will be a "valuable member of the conference".  The senator is very valuable for Republicans trying to retain control of the Senate. Currently, the Democrats have won 31 seats, and Republicans have won 30. Two races are still being tallied, though the Democratic candidate is leading in both contests.   If both win, the Democrats would still have the numerical majority in the house, by just one seat, even with Felder’s defection.
 
But four Democrats are in their own breakaway conference, and have not said which side, if any, they will ultimately join.

In a statement the spokesman for the Senate Democrats, Mike Murphy, said "The voters sent a clear message on election night that they want the Senate led by a Democratic Majority. We are confident that when the Senate convenes in January, there will be that Democratic Majority"
 
Murphy says Democrats "look forward" to working with Governor Cuomo on his "progressive agenda."

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