Despite passing a budget that calls for 700 layoffs, calling for the closure of two police precincts and privatizing Long Island Bus, Nassau County Republicans in the legislature, who are now faced with a $300 million budget deficit, managed to hold on to their majority lead after Tuesday’s off-year election. And at the town level, supervisor races remained status quo.
The biggest upset, however, came on the Republican side when Democrat Carrie Solages (D-Elmont) knocked off longtime lawmaker Legis. John Ciotti (R-Valley Stream).
The race between Ciotti, the veteran legislature, and Solages, a former Bronx prosecutor, was embroiled in controversy after a video appeared of a campaign worker making a derogatory comment about blacks during a confrontation with Solages’ sister in October appeared on YouTube.
On Tuesday, Democrats made allegations of voter intimidation in Elmont, but poll watchers at two of Elmont’s polling places said the only voters that were challenged were those that did not appear in voting rolls.
“We hit a little bump in the road during the campaign,” said Ciotti, without completely throwing in the towel. “Tonight, we counted the votes. But there are many, many absentee votes that are still out there to be counted. So don’t count me out just yet.”
Solages, who received congratulatory hugs and hand shakes from his fellow Democrats, said, “People cannot except government as a career,” a departing shot at Ciotti.
The most-watched race in the county was in the race for an open seat between Republican Robert Germino squeaking past Democrat Delia DeRiggi-Whitton by a mere 37 votes in the 18th. Both are from Glen Cove.
“It’s a great night for the Republican Party!” GOP boss Joe Mondello told a packed room and loud applause and shouts. “We won the legislature, ladies and gentlemen! We won the Town of Hempstead. We won the Town of Oyster Bay. We picked up one seat in North Hempstead.”
Freshman Legis. Howard Kopel (R-Lawrence) beat out Adam Moser (D-Hewlett) in the 7th District race.
Legis. Joseph Belesi (R-Farmingdale), also a freshman, defeated Democratic challenger Eva Pearson (D-Farmingdale) in a squeaker—by 51 votes, according to late tally projections.
Presiding Officer Peter Schmitt (R-Massapequa), who retained his seat by a large margin, said of Democrats’ campaign tactics:
“They tried to stain the efforts of County Executive Ed Mangano in fixing the fiscal disarray that this county is in. They tried to take out the Republican county legislature. They tried all during this campaign to get these legislators off-message. And this is with unions in the county and their stubborn refusals to negotiate with the county executive flat-out [telling] us they were going to flip the legislature. They were going to make it Democratic. Why? Because the Democrats had promised to raise taxes to fund unsustainable contracts. Well I have a message for those unions and I hope they’re watching on television: We’re still here!”
Nothing changed in the town races, despite a close race between North Hempstead Supervisor Jon Kaiman and his Republican challenger Lee Tu early in the night. Kaiman ended up retaining his position, winning by a margin of 53 to 46 percent. Republican Hempstead Supervisor Kate Murray trounced Democratic challenger Gary Port 66 to 33 percent. And Republican Oyster Bay Supervisor John Venditto handily topped Democrat John Capobianco 72 to 27 percent.
In other races, according to the Nassau Board of Elections early Wednesday morning:
District 1’s Legis. Kevan Abrahams (D-Hempstead) trounced Republican challenger Rodney McRae (R-Roosevelt) by nearly 87 percent to 13 percent.
In the 2nd District, Democratic incumbent Robert Troiano (D-Westbury) crushed the GOP’s Karin Campbell by an 82 to 18 percent margin.
Legis. Denise Ford (R-Long Beach) fended off Democratic challenger Darlene Tangney by a tally of 54 percent to 46 percent.
Legis. Joseph Scannell (D-Baldwin) beat Christian Browne (R-Rockville Centre) with a 54- to 64-percent count.
Legis. Francis X. Becker (R-Lynbrook) defeated Democratic challenger Anthony Gonzalez (D-Valley Stream) by 69- to 31-percent.
Kopel beat Moser with a 59 percent to 40 percent tally in the 7th.
Legis. Vincent Muscarella (R-West Hempstead) trounced Scott Milano (D-Garden City) 80- to 20-percent.
Legis. Richard Nicolello (R-New Hyde Park) crushed Democrat Jason Watson 73- to 27-percent.
Legis. Judi Bosworth (D-Great Neck) defeated Republican challenger Elizabeth Berney by a 59- to 41-percent margin.
Legis. Wayne Wink (D-Roslyn) was triumphant over Republican challenger Eric Zausner (R-Port Washington) with a 62 percent to 38 percent win.
Legis. Dennis Dunne (R-Levittown) crushed Democratic challenger Ethan Irwin 67 percent to 33 percent in District 15.
Legis. Judy Jacobs (D-Woodbury) won against James Milano (R-Oyster Bay) with a 59-percent to 41-percent tally.
Legis. Rose Marie Walker (R-Hicksville) beat Democratic challenger Frederick Hagemann III by 74 percent to 26 percent.
Legis. David Denenberg (D-Merrick) defeated Republican challenger Fred Jones 73 percent to 27 percent.