WASHINGTON — A year after losing control of the state Senate, New York Republicans are retiring en masse, giving up all hope of taking back the chamber and clearing the path for Democrats to win a supermajority in 2020.
“Afraid they’ll lose their seats to our growing majority, long-serving Republicans are throwing in the towel and exiting the Empire State’s Senate at a staggering pace,” said Democratic Campaign Committee President Jessica Post. “These Republican retirements create a clear path for Democrats to win a supermajority that will continue to move New York forward.”
Despite being thought of as a “blue state,” Republicans had controlled the New York Senate for all but three years since World War II. Democrats flipped eight districts in 2018, gaining a wide margin of control in the upper chamber and putting them just two seats away from a supermajority.
Under the leadership of Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, who also serves as the DLCC’s board chair, Senate Democrats successfully passed legislation to protect voting rights, combat climate change and defend women’s health in the most productive legislative session in New York history this year.
“Every day there seems to be a new Republican retirement and I think that speaks volumes,” said Stewart-Cousins. “The Senate Republicans understand that we are going to grow the Democratic majority in the Senate and that voters support the progressive policies we have advanced. We will continue our efforts to move New York State forward and working to serve as a progressive example for the rest of the nation to follow.”
Eight Republican incumbents have announced their retirements, an exodus that compounds Republicans’ challenge as they face an uphill battle to defend their shrinking minority. The Senate Republican campaign committee recently reported just $300,000 cash on hand, while Democrats reported raising more than $4 million this year. It’s clear Republicans have no path to win back the majority.
“What a difference a year can make! Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and New York Democrats are bringing the state’s laws in line with voters’ values,” Post said. “New Yorkers believe in voting rights, in leading the fight against climate change, in defending the right to choose — and Democrats are getting the job done.”