Skelos Vows to Keep GOP State Senate Majority by Taking Out Democrats

State Senator Dean Skelos.  (Photo: Facebook)

State Senator Dean Skelos. (Photo: Facebook)

State Senate Republican co-majority leader Dean Skelos told radio listeners that his party would retain control of the legislative body, despite his crumbling coalition with the breakaway Independent Democratic Conference — by taking out Democratic incumbents in contested districts.

Mr. Skelos promised on WCNY’s Capitol Pressroom that the Republicans would gain four or five seats to compensate for the loss of support from the five IDC members — who have now vowed to join the Democrats after the November election. The Republican leader spotlighted three Democrats that he believed would fall: State Senators Ted O’Brien, Terry Gipson and Cecilia Tkaczyk, to respective Republican challengers Rich Funke, Susan Serino and George Amedore.

“We’re going to win up against Ted O’Brien in Monroe County, we’re going to retire Terry Gipson — we’ve got a great candidate, Susan Serino running up there,” the Long Island legislator said. “George Amedore–Cecilia Tkaczyk, last time she had the Obama landslide, she’s not going to have that this time. Obama is now hurting the ticket. I really think we’re going to come back with 33, 34 seats.”

Those three victories would still leave Republicans one or two seats short of Mr. Skelos’s stated goal.

If Republicans do manage to take a majority of seats in November, Mr. Skelos said he would consider negotiating with the IDC again — though he declined to say if he would agree once more to the unique power-sharing arrangement he previously had with Senator Jeff Klein of the Bronx.

“I will accept bipartisanship, and we can have that discussion down the road,” Mr. Skelos said.

The camps of Mr. O’Brien, Mr. Gipson, and Ms. Tkaczyk did not immediately respond to requests for comment.