As the country watches Senate primaries in Kentucky, Arkansas, and Pennsylvania today, there is news out of our own dysfunctional State Senate (now a month overdue on a budget) here in New York: Republican Senator Tom Morahan will not seek re-election.
Morahan represents parts of Orange and Rockland Counties, and is fighting leukemia. According to a statement, he will finish out his term but will not run in the fall. His retirement is a big opportunity for Senate Democrats, who are looking to increase their tenuous 32-30 majority in the chamber, as well as for marriage equality advocates.
Democrats have been very nervous ever since their two seat majority disappeared last year, when Hiram Monserrate and Pedro Espada flipped sides and turned the chamber over to some combination of Republican control and utter, Keystone-Cops-style chaos. Fortunately for them, Monserrate is now gone (and pursuing new dating opportunities), but they’re still stuck caucusing with Espada, who faces both state and federal investigations and could be headed the way of Bernard Kerik one of these days.
Marriage equality advocates will undoubtedly pull out all stops to see that the Democrat to run for the open seat will be for gay marriage. Morahan, like all 30 Republican senators, voted against the marriage equality bill last December. Advocates will want to make sure any Democrat who runs will not be like one of the eight Democrats who effectively sunk the bill last year.