New York’s Senate will look different after the next election. Several incumbent Republicans are stepping down and at least one other is on the fence.
Between Thanksgiving and Christmas week, half a dozen incumbent Republicans announced plans to retire from the state Senate, stretching from the Hudson Valley to Western New York to the North Country. At least four of the senators — including George Amedore Jr., R-46 — hail from competitive districts that could flip in the upcoming elections without an incumbent in the mix.
The latest Republican senator to announce their retirement is Richard Funke, R-55. Before him, Joseph Robach, R-56, Michael Ranzenhofer, R-65, Elizabeth Little, R-45, Chris Jacobs, R-60, and Amedore also announced they would not be seeking reelection.
Obviously, going from majority to minority status is a big difference for people who have been in control for many years. Republican senators are accustomed to being in a majority party and accustomed to driving the policy discussion. Outnumbered, they know they’re not going to get many bills passed next year.
Amedore bristles at this view, saying this: “I can tell you — and I can only speak for myself — what went into my decision of not seeking reelection. It had nothing to do with majority-minority, the party, Republicans not being able to accomplish or be successful. I’m a Republican in a very Democratic Senate district, I’ve been extremely successful and I’ve been able to get things done with the minority and majority because I work in a bipartisan fashion and that’s what we need.”
Another possible explanation for this retirement parade is that the Republican senators want to distance themselves from the catastrophic behavior of President Donald Trump and his administration. It’s possible they are willing to leave public service and take refuge in family, business interests and the private sector.
The argument put forth by Amedore, a successful businessman in his own right, has some merit. Tough political times are ahead and it simply makes sense to put aside the majority-minority schism and learn how to get things done in a bipartisan way.