PULASKI — Will Barclay’s first election as Assembly GOP boss was undoubtedly a success, and the lawmaker will return to Albany emboldened by big Republican pickups around New York.
After an easy win Tuesday in his own election (returning for a 10th term to represent that 120th Assembly District), Barclay shifted his attention to the rest of his conference and said Empire State Republicans “performed well” and there were “encouraging signs for the future.”
Democrats, centralized in New York City, have dominated the Assembly’s 150-member chamber for decades but as of Wednesday morning, it appears Republicans will add nearly a dozen new members without losing any.
“I am extremely pleased that all of our incumbent members will return to the Assembly Minority Conference. They should be commended for the hard work and leadership they provide in their districts,” Barclay said. “Although many races remain undecided, we know for certain that the Assembly Minority will welcome at least 11 new members to its ranks next year, and will once again grow in numbers.”
Barclay pointed specifically to a Rockland County race where Orangetown Deputy Supervisor Mike Lawler defeated powerful incumbent Democrat Ellen Jaffee, who had served in Albany since 2007. Barclay called Lawler’s performance “a tremendous win.”
Democrats have controlled the state Assembly, Senate and governor’s office since 2019 and from Jump Street have enacted a number of aggressive, progressive policy agendas including bail reform and expanding voting access. Barclay said Tuesday’s results could be seen as a repudiation of what he’s described in the past as “overreach” by Dems.
“The days of violence in the streets, an unaffordable cost of living and a state economy on the brink of collapse do not work for New Yorkers,” Barclay said. “More voters are realizing that the core principles of one-party Democrat rule create real problems for hard-working men and women.”
State Senate Democrats had starry visions of the election producing a veto-proof “supermajority” of 42 members of the 63-member Senate but those dreams appeared to evaporate on election night.
“Despite a difficult night for many Democratic candidates throughout the state and nation, the Senate Democratic conference comfortably retained our majority and will be welcoming a historic group of new upstate Democrats to the senate,” said Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, D-Westchester. “With the record high number of outstanding absentee ballots that are overwhelmingly Democratic, we will add even more victories to our majority as the vote counts continue. The Senate Democratic Majority will continue to lead New York State forward as we recover from this pandemic and economic crisis.”
Despite that rosy prediction, Republican officials were quick to jump on the appearance of a turning tide. State GOP Chairman Nick Langworthy said Wednesday morning it had been “an incredible night for New York Republicans.”
“We are still tallying the final votes of many races, but one thing is certain: the New York Republican Party won big even in so-called ‘blue’ areas where Democrats' enrollment outnumbered us,” Langworthy said in a statement. “Republicans won in New York City and its suburbs, in the Hudson Valley, the capital region and across upstate from the North Country to the Mohawk Valley to the Southern Tier. We did this in spite of a mainstream media and political money class who were aiding Democrats every step of the way. We did this because we stayed focused on the issues that matter to New Yorkers like supporting our police, repealing the dangerous new bail law and respecting hard-working taxpayers.”