A week has passed since Election Day, and the race for New York State Assembly District 4 has yet to be called. However, the Republican Party challenger Edward Flood, of Port Jefferson, appears to be on the brink of an upset.
As of press time, Flood maintains a 51-49% margin over incumbent state Assemblyman Steve Englebright (D-Setauket). With remaining votes outstanding and the outcome still undetermined, Englebright — who is current chair of the Assembly’s important Standing Committee on Environmental Conservation — declined to comment for this story.
In a phone interview on Tuesday evening, Flood gave an update on the remaining ballots. As of press time, Flood held a 973-vote lead with tallies of 23,707-22,734, according to the Suffolk County Board of Elections. Flood said roughly 1,100 absentee and affidavit ballots remain uncounted.
“I’ve been told it’s mathematically improbable but not impossible for me to lose,” he said. “It’s unofficial, but it’s looking like I have this.”
Even so, Flood has yet to declare victory in the race. He said he would prefer to let the process play out. “I haven’t formally said I won, but I’m hoping that as of tomorrow, we have some more definitive answers,” the Republican candidate said.
Initial reports of Flood’s prospective victory surprised many within the community. Englebright has held that seat since 1992, and before entering the state Assembly, had represented the area in the Suffolk County Legislature starting in 1983. Flood said he was not necessarily surprised by the outcome.
“For my campaign team, this wasn’t a shock,” he said. “We did some polling and we knew we were right there.” He added, “I understand why people outside my camp would call it a shock. Steve’s been there for a really long time … so I don’t discount the magnitude of what happened, but it wasn’t a shock to my team.”
If Flood is declared the victor in the coming days, he said he would like to begin the transition, starting with a discussion with his election opponent.
“I would like to have a conversation with Steve, if he would be willing to — and I think he’s a standup guy and I think he would — to kind of let me know what specific constituent problems they have,” Flood said. “We’ve reached out to a lot of the civics, and I’d like to sit with them and get some ideas … and just get a feel of what each community is looking for from me.”
He also said he plans to coordinate with the law enforcement community to understand the challenges experienced on the ground. He expressed his intent to “speak with law enforcement and get the best plan for how to address some of the issues with criminal justice reform that I think are just not working right now.”
To his possible constituency, Flood offered to maintain an open-door policy. He emphasized community outreach and maintaining close contact with community members.
“My job is to represent the people in the district, whether they voted for me or didn’t vote for me,” he said. “I’m not saying I don’t have some ideas, but I want this to be clear that I’m going to represent them and the interests of our community up in Albany.”
To follow the election results as the final ballots are counted, visit the website www.elections.ny.gov under “Suffolk County Election Night Results,” then scroll down to “New York Assembly AD#4.”
If the loss of Englebright’s seat is confirmed, TBR News Media plans to conduct an exit interview marking the end of his term.