Republicans are looking at Kaminsky’s seat, and so is Kaplan’s

Daily point

Blood in water for SD9?

State Sen. Todd Kaminsky, who was beaten solidly in his run-up to Nassau County District Attorney two weeks ago, is less than a year away from his next election challenge if he were to choose to defend his South Shore seat.

But it is not entirely certain that he will again seek the seat, which had been reliably Republican under former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos.

Kaminsky was badly injured by DA-elected Anne Donnelly thanks to his involvement in unpopular bail reform legislation and suffered a brutal environment for the Democrats.

The consensus right now is that the rage that translates into a political advantage seems to be more likely to bring Republican victories again in 2022 than a democratic increase.

A real battle for a long line of state senate seats could be on the way, and Kaminsky’s seat could be a high-profile target.

Nassau County GOP chairman Joseph Cairo told The Point he is cautiously optimistic about his party’s chances in November next year and sees Kaminsky and other Long Island Democrats as vulnerable. Republicans were also encouraged by newcomer Mazi Melesa Pilip’s victory over incumbent Democrat Ellen Birnbaum in the Nassau 10th District legislative race. Cairo said it is part of the entry his party is making into the Jewish community, especially among highly observant and immigrant communities, and it causes the GOP to consider a serious challenge to Senator Anna Kaplan.

Cairo was unwilling to go on record with GOP names that could challenge any of the candidates, saying the party is too busy right now to finish the count while its winners prepare to take office, but some names are already being thrown around for a run at. Kaminsky, including:

  • Atlantic Beach State Assemb. Missy Miller, who has traditionally done well even among Democratic voters.
  • Town of Hempstead Councilman Anthony D’Esposito, who comes with the broad power base and strong connections of a family permeated by politics and the Republican crowd in Hempstead.
  • Chris McGrath, a lawyer who lined up against Kaminsky in April and November 2016 and lost both times.

Kaminsky did not respond to a request for comment. But county and state Democratic president Jay Jacobs said he expects Kaminsky to stand up and win.

“Todd has won four elections for that seat and he has done a good job for the district,” Jacobs said. “They can only hit him on a bail reform for so long and I think it’s about to be played out. Of course they’ll keep trying it, but I do not think it’s going to work. “

As for the political effectiveness of the bail reform game, a large crowd of Democratic lawmakers hopes Jacobs is right, but a similar number of Republicans say they are betting he does not.

– Lane filler @lanefiller

Speech point

After the game in Nassau

The big news out of the counting of ballot papers in Nassau on Tuesday was county director Laura Curran’s loss to Bruce Blakeman by 2,150 votes. But the absenteeism count has not been entirely bad for the party, with two come-from-behind victories for the Democratic caucus of Nassau lawmakers Arnie Drucker and Josh Lafazan.

Lafazan, a Woodbury independent, says he is waiting to dive deeper at the constituency, but is already pleased that he appears to have won absences outside those registered with the Democratic Party.

The legislature shared close to the final absentee ballot for the district, showing 612 returning absentees from Democrats, 355 from Republicans, 176 from whites and 43 from smaller parties.

When he went down on election night by 245 and is now up around 220, it suggests he got votes from the non-democratic lines.

It is an inaccurate estimate at this time, partly because final data were not immediately available from the county election board, and also because it is unclear how many Democrats voted absent for Republican Paolo Pironi.

But Lafazan called the victory a “validator” of the kind of bipartisan elected official he wants to be.

County GOP spokesman Mike Deery rejected Lafazan’s victory round “bragging” because of his thin win. “Clearly, not a mandate for an established.”

Yet Nassau’s Democratic leader Jay Jacobs still breathed a sigh of relief. Asked if he noticed any patterns about Lafazan and Drucker’s late victories, he sent an email: “I noticed we won! After this election cycle, I take it.”

As for Drucker, the Plainview Democrat said he could not yet speculate on his victory without complete raw data. He was just “pleased with the results” from the overall numbers he received Monday late in the afternoon.

On Tuesday, when he spoke briefly with The Point, he was in Florida. Trying to “decompress for a few days,” he said.

– Mark Chiusano @mjchiusano

Pencil Point

To get away with it

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Last point

Next stop: Elmont

Tuesday marked a rare moment for Long Island, one that brought together a strange pairing of transit workers, hockey fans and elected officials, and one that celebrated a long-awaited public project that was actually being carried out on the island.

The opening of the new Elmont Long Island Rail Road station – the first new LIRR station to open in nearly 50 years – began with a smooth, festive 10-minute train ride from Jamaica to Elmont when a couple of invited fans shouted ” Let’s Go Islanders “” and New York Islanders owner Jon Ledecky, Metropolitan Transportation CEO Janno Lieber, Lieutenant Brian Benjamin and a group of elected officials, union leaders, former players and others rode into the new station where they were greeted by team mascots Sparky and others.

And then, after a series of speeches, they cut a ribbon that read “New LIRR Elmont Station.” The MTA board is expected to approve a name change for the station on Wednesday, which will include both Elmont and UBS Arena in its title.

The cast of characters who gathered on Tuesday have met in Elmont several times over the past many years, for announcements, hearings and two years ago the groundbreaking of the nearby UBS Arena in Belmont Park. Many of them are likely to gather again on Friday, when the arena is scheduled to open officially with its own ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Two years ago, former Governor Andrew M. Cuomo stood in the middle of a long line of dignitaries, all holding golden shovels, to break ground on the arena. On Tuesday, it was Lieutenant Brian Benjamin who cut the cord with a similar crew – albeit with a few notable additions and a particularly notable absence.

No one mentioned Cuomo’s name, although the planning and construction of both the arena and the station began under his supervision.

Some elected officials, such as State Sens. Anna Kaplan and Leroy Comrie and Nassau County Executive Laura Curran, both managed to break ground in 2019 and cut the cord on Tuesday.

Others who did not join two years ago got their recognition now. Cuomo did not include State Senator Todd Kaminsky, who also represents the region, in the 2019 ceremony. This time, Kaminsky got his chance to speak.

The station, first announced in July 2019, was completed on time and on budget – a phrase that has also been rare until recently.

“The old MTA, no one would have bet that a project of this magnitude was carried out in a single year in the midst of a pandemic,” Lieber said.

Then there is perhaps the biggest change for Long Island – and for the Islanders – that Belmont reflects: the notion that long-discussed plans were finally becoming a reality.

“It’s a very rare thing in government to go from talking about something and having a vision to actually being there when it’s done,” Kaminsky said.

– Randi F. Marshall @RandiMarshall

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