As predicted, yesterday’s midterm elections had a large turnout on Long Island, including Suffolk County and the East End where residents cast their votes for NY governor, U.S. Senate, NY State Senate, Congress, state attorney general, State Legislature and the State Supreme Court, among other races.
The results were mixed, but the big news of the day is that Republicans no longer control Congress but continue to keep strong footing in the U.S. Senate. A newly balanced government could be a great thing for everyone, if these two sides don’t simply block each other and accomplish nothing as we head toward President Trump’s bid for a second term in 2020.
According to New York State Board of Elections official results, Southampton resident and Democratic incumbent Andrew Cuomo defeated his Republican challenger, Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro, in the NY gubernatorial election, earning a third term by a solid statewide margin of 57.90% to 36.07% (15,453 of 15,529 election districts reporting), and a slimmer 50.14% to 46.21% in Suffolk County (all 1,052 election districts reported). Montauk resident and Sex & the City actress Cynthia Nixon attempted to take the Democratic nomination from Cuomo with a new liberal agenda this year, but she was easily knocked out with a major defeat in the September primary. She did not appear on the ballot Tuesday.
Republican Congressman and Shirley resident Lee Zeldin won a narrow victory over Democrat Perry Gershon in Eastern Long Island’s 1st District race, gaining a third term representing most of Suffolk County, from Smithtown and Holbrook east to Montauk and Orient Point. The 52.46% to 45.01% win maintained the East End’s red status, though Zeldin is now in the House minority. Democrats claimed at least 26 seats in the House of Representatives nationwide, according to The New York Times on Wednesday morning, clinching the 23 spots needed to wrest control from G.O.P. incumbents and establishing a new paradigm where Republicans no longer rule all branches of government.
Republican NY State Senator for District 1, comprising the five East End towns and part of Brookhaven, Ken LaValle beat Democratic challenger Gregory-John Fischer 56.58% to 40.41% (all 212 election districts reported). LaValle has held his seat easily since he was fist elected in 1976, but statewide election results leave him and his G.O.P. colleagues in the minority after Democrats won eight seats—taking three open spots and unseating five Republican incumbents—to seize control of the NY State Senate for the first time in more than a decade, and only the third time in 50 years.
Democrat Kristin Gillibrand held on to her U.S. Senate seat, winning handily over Republican challenger Chele Farley 64.45%–32.51% statewide (15,453 of 15,529 election districts reporting) and 52.90% to 44.69% in Suffolk County (all 1,052 election districts reported). The victory brings Gillibrand her second full term in the U.S. Senate, though she was appointed to the position by NY Governor David Paterson on January 26, 2009, after Hillary Clinton was nominated as Secretary of State. Gillibrand won a special election to keep her seat in 2010, and was reelected for her first full, six-year term in 2012.
Like Zeldin and LaValle, Gillibrand will be in her branch’s minority, which was further solidified as Republicans took greater control of the U.S. Senate nationwide, adding three seats to their majority, from 51 to 54, in Tuesday’s election.
NY State Assemblyman and Independence Party incumbent Fred W. Thiele Jr., a lifelong Sag Harbor resident, kept his 1st District seat with a 58.08% to 39.01% victory (all 90 election districts reported) over Republican Patrick M. O’Connor. Thiele has held his District 1 seat firmly since 2012, and was equally strong in the Assembly’s 2nd District from 1995–2012.
Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman appears to have lost his Democratic bid for Suffolk County comptroller against Republican incumbent John M. Kennedy by a very slim 50.88% to 49.11%, but Schneiderman had yet to concede on Wednesday morning, according to The Southampton Press. A recount is pending and 30,000 absentee ballots have yet to be counted, which Schneiderman says could be enough to reclaim his 11,623-vote deficit.
One of many women to win elections on Tuesday, Democratic candidate for NY Attorney General Letitia A. James defeated Republican nominee Keith H. Wofford mightily, with a 59.65% to 34.36% win statewide (15,453 of 15,529 election districts reporting) and a much closer 49.15% to 45.61% margin in Suffolk County (all 1,052 election districts reported).
The 2018 midterms have shown that despite a generally liberal population on the East End, Suffolk County is decidedly more red than voters statewide. Beloved longtime local leaders, such as Thiele and LaValle, appear immune to party politics as they enjoy continued success at the polls, but overall the country remains deeply divided between left and right.
Thankfully, after Tuesday’s elections, we’ve restored some checks and balances to a government that seemed to bow down to the altar of Donald Trump. With the newly Democratic House, the President won’t be able to do as he pleases, and proper investigations into his potential misdeeds can put to rest, once and for all, questions about his alleged corruption, Russian collusion and any other malfeasance. If Trump is as innocent as he says, let’s hope he welcomes such investigations and proves his heart is with the good of the nation, and not the size of his bank account.
Visit nyenr.elections.ny.gov to find all election results, including updates to the above results which had not been fully reported at the time of publication.