Conservative Republicans on the ballot; Independent in Heart – The Published Reporter®

Underdog Ray Tierney’s 57% -42% victory on election day, November 2, 2021 in the race to oust incumbent one-time Suffolk County DA Democrat Tim Sini, was widely seen as a major triumph for the Republican and Conservative parties. Photo credit: Ray Tierney For District Attorney.

GREAT NECK, NY – Underdog Ray Tierney’s 57% -42% victory on election day, November 2, 2021 in the race to run for office in Suffolk County DA Democrat Tim Sini was widely seen as a major triumph for the Republican and Conservative parties , whose tickets Tierney, 55, a lawyer with more than a combined 25 years of experience as a state and federal prosecutor, ran on.

Especially for the GOP, which provided Tierney with 45% of its 57% of the total vote, while the other 12% came from the growing powerful Suffolk County Conservative Party, the elected DA’s landslide victory also provided a welcome ripple effect that drew enough votes to help Republicans gaining a 11-7 margin in the Suffolk County Legislature by 18 seats – the first time since 2006 that the Lincoln party owned the majority in Suffolk County’s sole legislative body.

But before celebrating Tierney as Suffolk County’s new partisan star, the county’s Republicans must, it seems, have to come to terms with one annoying fact: their new hero has never been a member of the Republican (nor Conservative or anything) party. . – not before, not during and not even after his amazing victory.

When I interviewed Tierney at his central transition office in Suffolk County last week, I first asked him why and then how this unusual political arrangement arose.

As a career advocate, “Tierney explained,” I have always believed that I should maintain political independence, so I made a decision more than 25 years ago not to join any political party and rather maintain a non-partisan status. ”

He then added that his long and widely respected career as a prosecutor – which in addition to his successful prosecution of foreign and domestic drug traffickers, members of MS-13 and a host of white-collar criminals – has also targeted corrupt Republicans, Conservatives and Democratic elected officials. him to realize that he had made the right decision.

Referring to guilty verdicts, he won by three former Long Island political powerhouses – Suffolk County Conservative Leader Ed Walsh (2016), Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano (2018) and Suffolk County DA Tom Spota (2019) – Tierney postulated,

“If I had hypothetically been registered Republican or Conservative, and also hypothetically I had participated in political fundraisers with the three, there might well have been a perception that my prosecution of them could have been compromised in some way. By. To maintain political independence throughout my career, I have thus made it perfectly clear and beyond any question that when it comes to enforcing the law, I have no room for political consideration of any kind. ”

Tierney was no less accommodating when he responded “how” part of my question. First, he noted that as a non-party-affiliated career prosecutor, he had never considered running for political office, Tierney said.

“As someone who has always avoided any involvement in party politics, I was completely surprised when Jesse Garcia last year in January. [The Chairperson of the Suffolk County Republican Party] contacted me to ask if I would meet him at a local eatery to discuss the possibility that I might run on the Republican ticket to the District Attorney’s office of Suffolk County.

Tierney recalled that although he was initially unsure whether to accept Garcia’s offer, that ambivalence changed quickly when the two had their first meeting.

“I realized that we shared the same concerns about how Mr Sini’s poor management of the DA’s office has endangered public safety throughout and even outside the county,” he recalled. “One of the most sinister examples we discussed of Sini’s incompetence, which I later explored during the campaign, was related to his unprofessionally prosecuted several MS-13 members.”

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“Jesse and I,” Tierney elaborated, “discussed several charges of gun possession and even murder. [by MS-13 members] where Sini unforgivably allowed the defendants to plead guilty to significantly lower charges, with no or very minimal imprisonment. These criminals, we also lamented, are now roaming our streets and endangering the safety of all of us. ”

Referring to his own past success in prosecuting members of MS-13, which he discussed with Garcia, Tierney added,

As Jesse already knew, I was prosecuted unlike Mr. Sini 100s of MS-13 offenders, who are now serving long prison sentences. “

Tierney remarked, however, even when he and Garcia found out during their meeting that they shared a common position on how the DA’s office should be run, and although Tierney himself later began to become receptive to the idea of ​​running for DA in the Republican party. ticket, there was a problem that needed to be solved.

Tierney, married father of four young adult children, remembered,

“After my long and very productive meeting with President Garcia and, just as importantly, after receiving the enthusiastic approval of my family, I would have been ready and eager to start my campaign.”

Tierney noted, however, that there was still a question that needed to be answered before he could run for DA.

“I was very proud to line up on the Republican line to oppose Mr. Sini,” he said. “But because I always thought a prosecutor should not be a registered member of any political party, I told Jesse that I would not register as a Republican. So the question was, can a candidate run on the ballot paper of a party? , of which he is not an official member? “

Fortunately for Tierney and the 154,627 Suffolk County citizens who ended up voting for him, the answer to that question was “Yes.”

Tierney explained that there was a law in the state of New York from 1947 called the Wilson Pakula Act, which contained a provision that allowed candidates to run for an elected office on the ballot paper of a political party with which they are not officially registered. .

“Because of this provision,” Tierney said, “I was able to run on the Republican Party ticket even though I was not a registered member of the party. I then used the same law to line up on the Conservative Party line. . ”

Still, shortly after his campaign launched last spring, whether Tierney was a registered Republican (or Conservative) became a distinction without a meaningful difference. Tierney noted that the campaign platform he ran on reflected the pro-police, pro-public security philosophy and policies commonly advocated by the GOP, Tierney said.

“My public security policies were completely in line with the Republican Party. I campaigned on the promise,” he elaborated, “that in order to combat the rising wave of violent crime plaguing Suffolk County, I would re-establish the DA’s Gang Unit and Suffolk Gang Task Force. ; instructing my ADA {Assistant District Attorneys} to fight the award of bail for violent criminals and probation offenders; and for me personally, “he continued,” I promised that I would use the bullying pulpit in the DA’s office to try to persuade state legislators to repeal New York State’s criminally friendly so-called bail reform laws. ”

On January 2, 2022, when he is sworn in as District Attorney in Suffolk County, Tierney will have the chance to fulfill those campaign promises, even though he officially remains a man without a political party.

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