GOP gains seats locally, Dems avert ‘red wave’ nationally
While New Yorkers voted Democrat Kathy Hochul as the first woman elected governor, Republicans scored big in races throughout Suffolk County.
Due to September’s cyberattack, results for local races were delayed on Tuesday night as Suffolk County election workers struggled to upload votes.
After technical problems, election workers delivered voting booth memory cards to Yaphank headquarters for votes to be counted. The first voting results started trickling in by the early morning hours of Nov. 9.
New York State governor
Congressman Lee Zeldin (R-NY1), the Republican Party’s gubernatorial candidate, made a surprise appearance en route to his official viewing party in Manhattan. At the Stereo Garden in Patchogue, Zeldin expressed gratitude for the people of Suffolk County, saying his night would not be complete without first dropping in.
Slowly, the returns began to come in, and the room took on a different tone and tenor as the gubernatorial contest was called for incumbent Hochul.
With 94% reporting as of press time, Hochul carried the state by a 53-47% margin — unusually tight for a state that Democrats generally take handily.
“Tonight, you made your voices heard loud and clear, and you made me the first woman ever to be elected to be the governor of the State of New York,” Hochul said in her victory speech. “But I’m not here to make history. I’m here to make a difference.”
Zeldin conceded the afternoon of Nov. 9 in a statement.
“This race was a once-in-a-generation campaign, with a very close margin in the bluest of blue states,” Zeldin said. “The unrelenting passion and hard work of our grassroots volunteers and supporters made this incredibly close race possible and helped us win at least 49 of New York’s 62 counties.” He added, “Republicans, Democrats and Independents united as New Yorkers, pouring their heart and soul into this campaign.”
U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) was declared the victor early on Nov. 8, receiving 56% of the votes as of press time.
Despite this and a lackluster Republican performance nationwide, some at Stereo Garden did have cause to celebrate. In the race to fill Zeldin’s congressional seat, Nick LaLota defeated Suffolk County Legislator Bridget Fleming (D-Noyac) by a 56-44% margin with 94% reporting.
“Thank you to the voters of Suffolk County for placing your trust in me,” LaLota said in a statement. “I am extremely thankful for the trust and confidence you have placed in me, and I won’t let you down.”
At the state level, incumbent state Sen. Anthony Palumbo (R-New Suffolk) defeated Democratic Party challenger Skyler Johnson by 12 points. “This is a team effort, as you all know, and we don’t get here without the hard work of all of our volunteers,” Palumbo said in a speech.
Johnson said he wouldn’t make any promises about whether to run for another office. However, he hasn’t ruled it out, either.
“If I think that we have a viable path, and I think that what I can offer is what the constituents need, then ‘yes,’” he said.
State Sen. Mario Mattera (R-St. James) faced Democrat Susan Berland, formerly Suffolk County legislator in the 16th District and Town of Huntington councilwoman, for the seat in the 2nd District.
The incumbent retained his seat with more than 58% of the votes. Mattera said it felt great to hear the results of his race the morning of Nov. 9, even though he was disappointed that Zeldin lost the gubernatorial race.
“One party rule is upsetting to me because it’s like a business having a monopoly,” Mattera said.
The state senator said he is looking forward to returning to Albany to continue working toward bringing funds back to the area to help with infrastructure and local businesses. He added he was appreciative of the overwhelming support from his family, friends, law enforcement and trade unions, and the confidence they all have had in him.
In the state Assembly, incumbent Assemblywoman Jodi Giglio (R-Riverhead), who represents the 2nd District, easily won her race by a 32% margin over Democratic challenger Wendy Hamberger.
As of early afternoon Nov. 9, the race for Assembly District 4 was tight, with a mere 973 votes dividing the candidates. Incumbent state Assemblyman Steve Englebright (D-Setauket) is in a competitive bout with Republican challenger Edward Flood. Flood maintains a 2-point lead with 96% of the precincts reporting as of press time, though that race has not been called.
Englebright said his last race in 2020 was a close one, too, and he was not ready to make an official statement as of press time.
In the state Assembly District 8 race, incumbent Michael Fitzpatrick received more than 68% of the votes. His opponent, Democrat Jeanine Aponte, did not run an active campaign.
In addition to parts of Suffolk County, state Assembly District 10 also takes in parts of Nassau County. Incumbent Steve Stern (D-Dix Hills) was the winner with 54% of the votes (25,879), while IT professional Aamir Sultan (R) received 46% (21,843).
In the state Assembly race in the 12th District, incumbent Keith Brown (R-Northport), faced Democrat Cooper Macco.
Brown retained his seat with 58% of the votes. Macco said he would consider running for office in the future.
“It was a learning experience,” he said. “I think that in the future, hopefully, I can take what I’ve learned” and apply it to a campaign.
After losing a June primary, current Suffolk County Clerk Judith Pascale (R) did not run for the position.
Republican Vincent Puleo, the town clerk of Smithtown, faced Democrat Lisa Jimenez, a newcomer running for political office. Puleo won the race with 59% of the votes.
Incumbent county Comptroller John M. Kennedy Jr. (R) won reelection with ease at 60% over his inactive Democratic Party challenger, Thomas Dolan. During a speech at Stereo Garden, he thanked those who helped him secure victory and expressed his vision for the future.
“We left nothing untouched, ladies and gentlemen,” the comptroller said. “We will have change in Suffolk County, and we will restore Republican values, I’m confident.”
The $4.2 billion state Clean Water, Clean Air and Green Jobs Environmental Bond Act of 2022 was approved by about 59% of voters (93.64% precincts reporting).
The Suffolk County term limits proposition, to 12 years total, passed with a massive 86% approval.