Senate Republicans are heavily focused on three races as they seek to retain their slim majority in the state Senate, Sen. Thomas Libous, R-Binghamton, said today.
Two are the races polled today by Siena — Republican Bob Cohen vs. Democrat George Latimer in Westchester and Republican Sean Hanna vs. Democrat Ted O’Brien in Monroe County. The other is trying to defeat Sen. Joseph Addabbo, D-Queens, who is being challenged by Republican Eric Ulrich.
“We have three races that we are looking at very closely. Those two and Addabbo,” Libous, who heads the Senate Republican Campaign Committee, said in a telephone interview with Gannett’s Albany Bureau today. “We believe we can beat Addabbo.”
Addabbo was first elected in 2008, as part of Democrats’ victory in winning the Senate majority for the first time since the 1965.
Republicans had $3.5 million in their coffers as of last month, and Democrats had $700,000.
Libous said he was pleased with the Siena polls today that showed Hanna with a eight-percentage-point lead and Latimer up three on Cohen. He said Latimer’s lead is because he is an incumbent assemblyman in the district.
“I think we’re in a great position,” Libous said. “I would not want to be an Assembly incumbent in a Senate district and only be 3 points up on Oct. 3. That would make me very nervous. I feel very good we are going to win that race.”
As of last month, Senate Republicans had spent $358,709 on Cohen; $241,975 on Ulrich and $200,754 on Hanna. The only other candidate who had received similar support from Sen. Roy McDonald, R-Saratoga, who lost a close primary race last month.
Sen. Mark Grisanti, R-Buffalo, had long been considered a vulnerable incumbent, but Libous said, “Mark Grisanti is running a fabulous campaign.”
Democrats said the Siena polls showed Republicans are in for a battle. Republicans hold a 33-29 seat majority.
“Senate Republicans and their right-wing extremist supporters have effectively been playing solitaire for the last month while pumping close to $4 million into these two campaigns to achieve paltry results,” Senate Democrats said in a statement. “Now that the playing field is leveled as we enter campaign season, we will tell the truth while Republicans keep spreading their tired old lies. The result will be two Democratic victories on our path back to the majority.”