|Sen. Craig M. Johnson (D)|
A spokesperson from Senator Craig M. Johnson's office has confirmed to me that the appeal of Judge Ira B. Warshawsky's ruling giving the 67th District Senate seat to GOP challenger Jack Martins is going forward. As I previously reported, the appeal was filed on Monday. Written briefs are due to be submitted before the end of the week with oral arguments starting next week. There is currently a stay of execution on the lower court's ruling. As a result, the current seat count of the New York Senate is 31 held by Republicans, 30 by Democrats.
|Jack Martins (R)|
If this is the final result, there remains the question of how tied votes will be resolved. The Democrats say that incoming Lt. Governor Robert J. Duffy, in his capacity as President of the Senate, will cast the tie-breaker. The law on this is unclear, however, and if this happens, the GOP will almost certainly challenge this in court.
|Sen. Kevin Parker (D)|
Republicans are expected to call for sanctions that could lead to his expulsion from the Senate, as happened in February with Hiram Monserrate, also found guilty of misdemeanor charges while being cleared of more serious felony assault charges. "A commission should look at Parker... His conduct definitely is unbecoming of a NY State Senator," said Sen. Martin Golden (R).
The Democrats, while not defending his actions, appear unwilling to remove him from the Senate as they did with Monserrate. If he were to lose his seat, it would remain vacant until a special election could be held, guaranteeing the GOP majority status, regardless of the outcome of the Johnson/Martin court case. "I'm not advocating that this warrants expulsion... The heinous crime of domestic violence demands a tougher standard," said Senate leader John Sampson (D), who also voted against the removal of Monserrate.
|Congressman Tim Bishop (D) Randy Altschuler (R)|
These long-contested contests, decided by only a few hundred ballots, give the lie to the idea that one person's vote in unimportant. Clearly, every vote counts.