by Tim Storey
Many legislative leaders are now being selected for next year's sessions. I hope to do a full rundown soon highlighting many of them. The leadership race with probably the most intrigue is playing out in the New York Senate. It appeared on election day that Democrats might have regained control of the body that was held 32 R - 30 D before the election. The New York Senate expanded to 63 members in this post-redistricting election, so Democrats needed to win 32 seats to claim the majority.
Two New York Senate races are still undetermined. Not knowing election results soon after the election is becoming a tradition in New York as is a battle royale for the leaders post. Democrats lead in the two outstanding races and could emerge with a clear numerical majority. However, Brooklyn Democrat Simcha Felder has announce that he will caucus with the Republicans and support current Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, a Republican, to continue as the chamber's leader. In addition, Senator Skelos might get other Democrats to back him. Here's a pretty good overview from National Journal's Hotline as of Thursday afternoon, Nov. 15th. It looks like it will take a while for this to sort itself out.
In another chamber with close partisan numbers, the Arkansas House voted today to withdraw the title of Speaker-designate from Democratic Representative Darrin Williams. Republicans won 51 seats in the 100 member body in this election. In a second vote, the House, by a secret ballot vote of 53 to 45, chose Republican Davy Carter as the Speaker-designate over Republican Terry Rice. It appears that Carter received the votes of all or most of the chamber's Democrats to win. A run down of the House leadership election is at Arkansas' Talk Business website.
And in a note unrelated to legislative leaders, here are some cool maps from a professor named Mark Newman at the University of Michigan depicting the presidential results from last week. They unfortunately do not include Alaska and Hawaii which is a big oversight...no pun intended. However, they do show county results that are really interesting to compare to this amazing precinct results map from 2008 from Stanford.