Republican senator Chuck Fuschillo resigns

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ALBANY—Chuck Fuschillo, a Republican state senator, abruptly announced his resignation Tuesday, saying he will leave the state's upper house to run the Alzheimer's Foundation of America.

Fuschillo, one of the bloc of nine G.O.P. senators from Long Island, said in a statement that he was ready for “new challenges” and would vacate his seat effective at midnight.

His resignation will not immediately affect the balance of power in the chamber, which would still be controlled by a coalition of 29 Republicans, along with the four-member Independent Democratic Conference and Simcha Felder, a turncoat Democrat from Brooklyn.

The departure creates two vacancies in the State Senate; Sen. Eric Adams, a Brooklyn Democrat, is resigning to become borough president.

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“This was a hard and bittersweet decision to reach. The almost 16 years I have spent serving the residents of the 8th Senate District were some of the most rewarding and enjoyable of my life,” Fuschillo said in a statement. “However, I am at a point in my life where I am ready for a new challenge. As of January, I will serve as the Chief Executive Officer of the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America. This is a new and exciting opportunity which will allow me to continue to help improve the lives of others while at the same time enabling me to spend more time with my family.”

In 2010, Fuschillo was said to covet the presidency of the Long Island Association, a business lobbying group, but was convinced to stay by Senate Republican leader Dean Skelos. (Aides denied this at the time.) Skelos offered praise for Fuschillo, who chaired the Transportation Committee, but noted, “Sometimes in life, we are presented with opportunities that are simply too good to pass up. This was one of those moments.”

It's not immediately clear whether the resignation will translate into an electoral opportunity for Democrats, who controlled the State Senate in 2009 and 2010, but have been relegated to minority status after Republican gains and the G.O.P.'s alliance with the I.D.C.. Long Island is becoming more Democratic, but Republican incumbents in the Senate have continued to win their elections. An open election could erode some of that natural advantage.

For now, it seems unlikely that an election will be called before November. Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, has indicated that he will not call special elections to fill Senate vacancies or seven open Assembly seats.

Another Long Island Republican, Sen. Lee Zeldin, is running for Congress rather than seeking another term in the State Senate. A Democratic source immediately crowed that “Republicans are seeing the writing on the wall.”