The Grand Ballroom in Uniondale’s Long Island Marriott is mostly empty, as hotel staff is in the process of turning the room into headquarters for the Nassau County Democrats for the next few hours. The podium and stage are placed in the front of the room, black pipe and drape hiding the beige walls. Opposite the stage, the media is setting up their gear. Cameras are being tested, microphones being checked. This is what is like on Election Night.
“I’m not getting any levels,” says one tech.
“What line,” asks another?
They run another test.
The guys go back to work, finding the problem.
Nassau County Chairman Jay Jacobs is hoping he won’t have any glitches tonight as the power in Nassau County could make a massive shift with just one GOP victory. Or, if the Dems reclaim a seat on the Nassau Legislature, the party would be even further entrenched as the rulers of Nassau. But Jacobs is not taking the 2009 election lightly.
“We’ve been worried for weeks,” says Jacobs. “The mood of the public is not good. Our polls show clearly show that.”
Districts have seen lower than expected turnout, with poll participation reaching only 28 percent of the population, the lowest in years. The low turnout had Democrats worried, prompting them to turn to the streets in an attempt to mobilize voters.
Most vulnerable are Legislators Dave Mejias (D-Farmingdale), Joe Scannell (D-Baldwin) and Jeff Toback (D-Oceanside). The Democrats hold a 10-9 majority in the Leg.
“The late numbers in Toback’s race were more competitive than I would have liked,” says Jacobs.
The party put out around ten mailers in Toback’s district and, says Jacobs “Spent a good deal of money.”
Pundits think that Scannell might be most vulnerable, as GOP challenger Chris Brown has made it a real race. The Dems are targeting John Ciotti (R-Valley Stream) and Richard Nicolello (R-New Hyde Park).
At the top of the ticket, Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi, who is seeking his third term in the office, could be the victim of disillusionment among voters. His challengers, Legislator Ed Mangano (R-Bethpage) and Conservative Party candidate Steve Hansen will most likely make a deep dent in Suozzi’s armor. Jacobs, while predicting Suozzi will prevail, knows it is not 2005.
“Tom won’t have the numbers he had four years ago,” says Jacobs.