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How republicans voted on same-sex marriage could be to blame for their downfall

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Albany/HV: How republicans voted on same-sex marriage could be to blame for their downfall
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Many of the republicans who backed legalizing same-sex marriage in New York State will not be returning to their seats this next term. But despite New York being a heavily democratic state, those far to the left decisions could have cost them their jobs. YNN's Nick Reisman explains.

NEW YORK STATE -- With the defeat of Poughkeepsie Senator Stephen Saland, only one of the four Republicans who backed the legalization of same-sex marriage in 2011 will be returning to Albany. It comes after Governor Andrew Cuomo even endorsed Saland and signaled he would back Senator Roy McDonald, had he continued on the Independence Party line.

Cuomo said, “This was not a political gesture. The politics are complicated on this. But it was just as a matter of principle and it was personal. This was a piece of legislation that I pushed very hard.”

Saland, McDonald and Senator Jim Alesi aren't returning to office for different reasons. In Saland's case, Conservative Party candidate Neil Di Carlo siphoned off enough votes to allow Democrat Terry Gipson to win. McDonald narrowly lost a GOP primary to Republican Kathy Marchione. Alesi declined to run entirely after an ill-advised and short-lived lawsuit filed against two constituents.

“Had there been no vote on same-sex marriage or had those senators voted the opposite, likely neither one would have seen a Republican primary,” said Siena College pollster Steve Greenberg.

For opponents of same-sex marriage, the lesson was clear: Moving too far to the left even in Democratic heavy New York will cost you your job.

“I think it's a simple lesson really. I think that same-sex marriage cost the GOP the majority, I think there's a lesson to learn for other elects that you cannot abandon the base and return to Albany following the election,” said Jason McGuire, Executive Director of New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms.

But Greenberg says it's a narrow slice of the electorate that votes in Republican primaries or backs conservative candidates.

Greenberg said, “It wasn't the fact that their vote was unpopular with the people of the district, the fact was their vote was very unpopular with a small minority of their district and that was enough to cost them their seats.”

Interestingly enough, the fourth Republican to back same-sex marriage in the Senate is Buffalo's Mark Grisanti. At one point this year, he was considered the most vulnerable. And yet he cruised to re-election in a Democratic heavy district.

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