The head of the state Senate Republicans’ campaign efforts said he remained “optimistic” Wednesday despite Democrats appearing to have made major gains on Election Day.
Sen. Thomas Libous, R-Binghamton, said he’s still expecting to have 32 votes — the minimum needed for a majority — in his conference after the paper ballots are counted.
“It was a tough night for us, but all is not lost,” Libous said on Talk1300AM (WGDJ) in Albany on Wednesday.
Specifically, Libous pointed to the too-close-to-call 46th Senate district, where Democrat Cecilia Tkaczyk currently holds a 139-vote lead over Republican Assemblyman George Amedore. Libous also expressed confidence that Democrat Simcha Felder, who defeated Sen. David Storobin in a Brooklyn district, would conference with the GOP.
“We’ve been through counts before,” Libous said. “While Democrats may have had a good ‘ground game’ with the Obama massacre again, we do a better job with absentee ballots than they do. We work them pretty hard.”
Libous’ Democratic counterpart, Sen. Michael Gianaris of Queens, claimed victory earlier Wednesday, expressing confidence that Democrats took at least 32 seats.
A seat where Libous said he’s “not as optimistic” is the one currently held by Sen. Stephen Saland, a longtime Poughkeepsie incumbent who was one of four GOP senators to vote in favor of same-sex marriage last year.
Saland currently faces a 1,600-vote deficit against Rhinebeck trustee Terry Gipson, a Democrat. He was hurt by Conservative Party candidate Neil Di Carlo, who took in more than 16,000 votes across the district after nearly unseating Saland in a Republican primary.
“There’s no question that the Saland seat, the Conservative Party caused us problems there,” Libous said. “There’s no doubt about it. Obviously the gay marriage vote was something they were principled on.”