*This post has been updated to include updated information about other area races.
With the number of absentee ballots counted so far, the GOP commissioner of the bipartisan Suffolk County Board of Elections told TBR News Media that U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin’s (R-NY1) reelection over Democratic challenger Nancy Goroff is “mathematically certain.”
“I expect to certify the race in about a week — with the results showing Congressman Zeldin won by almost 50,000 votes,” BOE Commissioner Nick LaLota said in an email statement. The incumbent congressional representative had a lead of over 60,000 votes by the end of in-person vote counting Nov. 3. Absentee ballot counting began Nov. 16.
While Goroff and her election staff said on Election Day they had to wait for the results of in-person voting, Zeldin released a statement that night declaring victory. In it he also thanked Goroff for the race.
“As America enters its next chapter, I am confident we will defeat the coronavirus and continue growing our economy,” the incumbent said in that Nov. 3 statement.
Zeldin’s campaign did not immediately respond to a request for any kind of new statement based on the commissioner’s election call.
A representative from Goroff’s campaign said they are waiting for additional absentee ballots to be counted before putting out any kind of statement.
In other local races, state Assemblyman Steve Englebright (D-Setauket) was confident that mail-in ballots would make a difference in the 2020 race for his seat in the 4th Assembly District, and he was right.
On Dec. 2, LaLota confirmed that Englebright was reelected and that official ballot counts would be available shortly.
The assemblyman said it was good to have the ballot count finished.
“This election was unique because fully one-third of the vote came in through mail ballots and was not included in the initial election night tally,” he said. “It was, however, worth waiting for. The final count was a solid affirmation. I’m grateful that the voters gave me the opportunity to continue representing them in the Assembly. And there is much work to be done in the new year. Until then, please everyone, be safe this holiday season and we will come out of this stronger.”
In person voting showed Englebright behind Nov. 4 with 47.44% of the votes, compared to his challenger Republican Michael Ross who had 51.88% of the votes. At the time, there were nearly 18,000 absentee ballots that still needed to be counted in the district.
Ross did not release a statement by press time.
At the same time, victory was declared by current Assemblyman Anthony Palumbo (R-New Suffolk), who defeated Democratic opponent Laura Ahearn to take Senate District 1. The seat had been held by Republican Ken LaValle for over 40 years.
“As our new Senator, I will work hard every day to continue the legacy of retiring State Sen. Ken LaValle and build upon his strong record of protecting the environment, supporting our schools, and fighting for taxpayers,” Palumbo said in a statement. “Thank you for putting your trust in me. I am proud and truly grateful to have the opportunity to continue serving our Long Island communities in the New York State Legislature.”
In a statement, Ahearn congratulated Palumbo for his win and said she would “work with him for the betterment of our communities during these difficult times.”
“I am very proud of the work we all did together as we were just 2.7% points away from flipping this seat, by far the closest this race has been in decades,” Ahearn said in a statement. “For now, I look forward to spending the holiday season with my family, who have been through so much during this remarkable time to run for public office. And of course, there is still much work to be done as we continue to help those who need it most.
In Senate District 2, Mario Mattera succeeded Senator John Flanagan (R). Mattera beat out Democrat and former state trooper Michael Siderakis, of Nesconset.
“Now that the counting is complete, we are ready to work together to bring the voice of all who live in our community to our state government and make sure that the needs of our families are met,” Mattera said in a statement. “The time has come to put Long Island first, and I look forward to getting to Albany to fight for our hardworking families.”
This story was amended to add a statement from Laura Ahearn.