Sen. Lee Zeldin’s decision today to run for Congress next year will make his Senate seat a key battleground as Republican seek to retain it and Democrats look to regain it.
Zeldin, R-Suffolk County, won the Senate seat in 2010, beating Democrat Brian Foley. It helped Republicans regain the majority they lost in 2008.
With Zeldin out, it will be an open seat next November.
Republicans share power with the Senate Independent Democratic Conference, and Democrats will look to add seats next year to knock out the power-sharing agreement.
Senate Republicans have sought to keep its members as it tries to hold power in Albany.
For example, Sen. Greg Ball, R-Patterson, Putnam County, has toyed with running for Congress, but has returned to the Senate’s fold.
Updated: Senate Republican Leader Dean Skelos, R-Nassau County, said in a statement that Republicans will hold the seat.
“Even though he’ll be running for Congress, we fully expect to win the 3rd district Senate seat next November,” Skelos said. “Senate Republicans have proven that we can work in a bipartisan fashion to successfully control spending, provide meaningful tax relief and help the private sector create new jobs.”
Here’s Zeldin’s video announcing his run.