After two special elections in New York on Tuesday, Democrats have control of the state Senate—on paper. In reality, Republicans remain in control thanks to rogue Democrat Simcha Felder, who has caucused with the GOP since soon after he was elected and says he doesn't plan to change now, the New York Daily News reports. The victories of Democratic candidates Shelley Mayer in a closely watched race in Westchester County and Luis Sepulveda in a more predictable race in the south Bronx give the Democrats 32 state Senate seats, enough to give the party control of the chamber for the first time since 2010 if Felder, who represents a Brooklyn district, would cooperate, the New York Times reports.
Felder is the last holdout from a group of nine breakaway Democrats. The others agreed to return to the fold last week, but Felder says that with just 25 days left in the year's legislative session, he wants to avoid an "unprecedented and uncertain late session political battle that will only hurt my constituents." Democrats say they expect to win a bigger majority this fall. In another New York special election Tuesday, Democrat Steve Stern won a seat in the state Assembly by flipping a Long Island district that had gone GOP for more than 30 years, the Daily Beast reports. And in a special election in Arizona, Republican Debbie Lesko kept a US House seat in Republican hands after the resignation of Trent Franks, though her margin of victory in the 8th District was far smaller than President Trump's was in 2016, CNN reports. (Read more New York state stories.)