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Vote Recount Returns NY Senate Majority To GOP

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) -- Republicans on Saturday regained control of New York's Senate beginning in January after a recount in a key seat on Long Island certified that the GOP candidate won.

The action gives Republicans their only power base in a state where Democrats control every statewide position and the Assembly.

The final vote tally gave Republican Jack Martins a narrow win over Democratic Sen. Craig Johnson in the 7th Senate District in Nassau County.

Democrats went into the November elections with a 32-30 majority in the chamber. Now it appears Republicans will have a two-seat majority in January for the upcoming two-year session.

Democrats have controlled the Senate for two tumultuous years that included a Republican-backed coup and gridlocking partisanship.

Justice Ira Warshawsky certified that Martins won by 451 votes of the tens of thousands of votes cast.

An application by Democrats for a stay to delay enactment of the decision pending an appeal to the state Appellate Division was denied, said Dan Bagnuola, spokesman for the Nassau County court system.

The judge had other options, including another review of paper ballots.

The just also set a Tuesday hearing to determine whether an audit of the count could still be required, according to the Democratic conference, which will continue to review other options in court.

"There's important work to be done in Albany, and now that the elections are over we're eager to get right to it," said Senate Republican leader Dean Skelos of Nassau County.

Skelos added that the GOP is prepared to work with Democratic Gov.-elect Andrew Cuomo to address the state's economic challenges, "including the need to reduce spending to balance the budget, provide relief to struggling taxpayers and help the private sector create jobs."

The decision means that the expected Republican majority will hold even if Democrats win the sole remaining recount in Westchester County. The Assembly will retain its Democratic majority.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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