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Democrats hope to upset Republicans in State Senate

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Buffalo: Democrats hope to upset Republicans in State Senate
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Republicans hold a four seat majority in the New York State Senate, but democrats are hopeful that they can turn that around on Tuesday. They say large turnout at the polls could tip the balance in their favor. Capital Tonight's Nick Reisman has more

NEW YORK STATE -- Cash versus enrollment. That's the essence of the battle for the State Senate, which Republicans hold 33 to 29. The GOP is defending its last lever of power it holds statewide after losing the majority in 2008 for a single two year term.

Republicans have several built in advantages to keep control. Senate Republicans are outspending their Democratic counterparts by a six to one margin. The GOP drew its own district lines and even created a new 63rd Senate seat in a Republican friendly area.

And yet Democrats have a fighting chance. More Democratic voters tend to come out in an election year and in a very blue state like New York, that could end the GOP's slim majority. The outcome will likely be based on a handful of local races.

“When voters go into the polling place tomorrow, they don't get to choose who controls the state Senate Democrats or the Republicans. They choose between a Democrat and a Republican,” said Siena pollster Steve Greenberg.

Control of the Senate hinges on a few key races.

In Monroe County, Republican Assemblyman Sean Hanna faces off against Democrat Ted O'Brien for a Monroe County district that's represented by the retiring GOP Senator Jim Alesi.

In Westchester County, Assemblyman George Latimer, a Democrat, faces Republican Bob Cohen. This is a seat retiring Democrat Suzi Oppenheimer narrowly held onto two years ago against Cohen.

And in the Capital Region, Republican Assemblyman George Amedore and Democrat Cecilia Tkaczyk are vying for that newly created 63rd Senate seat.

One race in Queens, Republicans believe they can pick off Democratic Senator Joe Addabbo, but the district suffered a lot of damage in Hurricane Sandy, which could impact the outcome.

Complicating all of this is the four-member Independent Democratic Conference, a caucus of four breakaway lawmakers who sit separately. If neither party takes a clear majority, the importance of IDC and its leader, Bronx Senator Jeff Klein, will be far more enhanced.

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