Senate Republicans, despite their Election Day losses, took a big step toward keeping its majority today when Democratic Sen-elect Simcha Felder of Brooklyn said he will sit with the Republican conference.
Felder had not previously indicated what he would do. The move means Republicans have secured 31 seats in the 63-seat chamber. There are two undecided races — between Republican George Amedore and Democrat Cecilia Tkaczyk and Republican Sen. Stephen Saland and Democrat Terry Gipson — and if Republicans win won, they will retain the majority.
Here’s Felder’s statement: (h/t to Capital Tonight for the fine scoop)
“From the moment I began my campaign for Senate, I made clear that the priorities of my district will form my agenda in Albany.
“I represent a middle-class community with substantial concerns about the direction of our State. And I have been clear that I will work with any group of Senators who have real economic development and jobs-encouragement ideas, who plan to bring substantial tax relief to the people who elected me, who have compassion for the poor and respect for the middle class, who support the improvement of public education and a plan to ease the burden of tuition-paying parents across New York.
“Earlier today, I met with Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos. We discussed the issues that concern my constituents. By joining him and the Senate Majority Conference I will be able to serve the people who elected me, and advance a legislative agenda that best meets their needs.
“Accordingly, when the Senate meets in January 2013, I will caucus with my colleagues in the Republican conference. I have enormous respect for the Senators from both parties, but I must choose to caucus with those Senators who will best serve the communities I represent.”