How Passing Same Sex Marriage Could Cost The NY GOP Control Of The State Senate In 2012
It’s only possible because for some inexplicable reason the Majority Leader, Dean Skelos, allowed it to the floor. Maybe he got something from Governor Andrew Cuomo for it but that’s not something anyone is claiming thus far.
What will Skelos likely get for it from the public? The chance to become the minority leader after the 2012 elections.
Right now the Republicans hold a bare 32-30 majority in the chamber. Of the 32 members of the majority only 4 of them voted in favor of the bill.
One of the Republicans voting yes was Senator Mark Grisanti of Buffalo. Gisanti was barely elected in “a heavily Democratic district“. While some might argue this will buy him some good will with his Democratic constituents, the reality the margin of his 2010 victory was provided by voters on the Conservative Party line (He won by 519 votes while getting 4,368 votes on the Conservative line -pdf). Mike Long the Chairman of the NY Conservative Party has made it clear that his party will not be endorsing anyone who votes for a SSM bill. There’s a very good chance a fair number of those voters don’t support Gisanti next time around, especially if the Conservative Party runs someone against him who spends the campaign hammering him from the right.
I know some will say this is a matter of conscience and beyond politics. That’s a load of crap. Everything in politics is about politics. It’s not like the Democrats are going to take a pass on running someone against Grisanti or any other Republican. Sure, someone Meghan McCain might say something nice about Republicans but more likely they’ll just say there were four decent Republicans but on the whole the rest are H8ters.
“A majority of the majority” is the usual rule of thumb for legislative leaders. Skelos as Majority Leader is supposed to use his absolute control over flow of bills to the floor to protect his members and his majority. The Democrats couldn’t pass Same Sex Marriage when they nominally had control of the Senate. I don’t get why the hell the Republicans just handed them a club to use in getting it back.
Grisanti is a Republican who beat Antoine Thompson in a district that has five Democrats for every one Republican.
One of the many keys to Grisanti’s huge upset was his position against gay marriage.
Thompson was in favor of gay marriage, and his position ran counter to that of many of the influential ministers in his district like Pastor William Gillison.
Scott Brown: “How important was Senator Grisanti’s position on gay marriage to you during the election?”
Pastor Willliam Gillison: “It was very important, not only to me but to his constituents.”
Update x2: One of the other Republicans voting yes was Senator James Alesi of Monroe County won his seat by 6,682 votes. He received 7,790 votes on the Conservative Party line (pdf).
The other two GOP Senators who voted “yes”, Roy McDonald and Stephan Saland, won by significant margins beyond what the Conservative line provided.
When Skelos loses his majority he’ll have no one else to blame but he’ll get a nice NY Times editorial or two out of it, so there’s that.