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LI State Senate Races: Zeldin Ousts Foley, Johnson-Martins a Close Call

One of Long Island’s two Democratic New York State senators lost their bids for re-election Tuesday while the other is in a contest that is too close to call. Those two and a handful of other senate races statewide are expected to give the GOP the majority in the state Senate after they lost it two years ago.

In Suffolk County, Sen. Brian X. Foley (D-Blue Point) conceded that he lost a re-election bid for his second term by 16 percentage points in the 3rd Senate District to Republican challenger Lee Zeldin, a veteran from Shirley. In Nassau County, Sen. Craig Johnson (D-Port Washington) trailed Republican Jack Martins, the Mineola village mayor, by more than 400 votes, although the results are not official until absentee ballots are counted. Four other upstate New York senate races may swing Republican as well.

“It appears that we’re at 32 right now, which is a majority, and that we have an opportunity to pick up one more,” said Sen. Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre), the minority leader who won re-election Tuesday night and may now become the majority leader again. “But we won’t know on that until probably tomorrow or the next day.”


The Suffolk GOP, still smarting from Foley ousting three-decade incumbent Caesar Trunzo in 2008, declared victory for Zeldin at the Smithtown Sheraton, where the party faithful had gathered to wait for the election results.

“This is from Lee Zeldin and the Republicans to Brian Foley and the Democrats,” the DJ announced before playing “We Will Rock You” by Queen.

Trunzo was later brought out on stage while the crowd shouted “hail Caesar!” and Suffolk Republican Chairman John Jay LaValle declared: “We’re taking your seat back tonight.”

“Senator Trunzo, I’m going to make you proud each and every day in Albany,” Zeldin said after coming on stage to “Empire State of Mind” by Jay Z.

Martins declared victory in the 7th Senate District race, although Johnson had not conceded.

“I want you to meet Senator Jack Martins,” boomed Nassau Republican Chairman Joe Mondello to applause and cheers at Mirelle’s restaurant in Westbury after midnight Wednesday where the Nassau GOP were celebrating their victories. “I apologize it’s so late, but these new machines are really causing a lot of difficulty.”

“It’s great to have nine Republican state Senators from here on Long Island,” Martins said. “There are so many great things that we need to do right now…I can’t wait to start.”

Including Skelos, four Nassau Republican state Senators won re-election Nov. 2. Carl Marcellino (R-Syosset) beat Larry Silverman, Kemp Hannon (R-Garden City) topped Francesca Carlow and Charles Fuschillo (R-Merrick) fended off Carol Gordon.

In Suffolk, three Republican state Senators were returned to office. Kenneth LaValle (R-Port Jefferson) beat Jennifer Maertz, John Flanagan (R-East Northport) topped Ira Bernstein and Owen Johnson (R-West Babylon) fended off Maeghan Lollo.

This story was reported by Lindsay Christ, Christopher Twarowski and Timothy Bolger. It was written by Bolger.

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