Nassau County Republicans were declaring Mineola Mayor Jack Martins the victor in the tight 7th state Senate District race against incumbent Democrat Craig Johnson early Wednesday morning in a race that could help determine which party hold the majority in the state Senate.
“The communities have spoken. It’s time to take common sense back to Albany,” Martins told a euphoric gathering of party leaders and supporters at Mirelle’s in Westbury on Tuesday night.
But the elation over the apparent victory of Martins and other Republican candidates was tempered later in the morning as complete results from Tuesday’s balloting revealed a razor-thin margin of 415 votes for Martins over Johnson, with 81,677 votes cast.
The Nassau County Board of Elections was anticipating a demand for a full recount in the race from the Democrats. Five additional days will be required for tabulating results from absentee ballots cast in the race, and the timetable for reporting final results after the recount remains uncertain.
The Martins-Johnson contest had been a bitter personal fight filled with charges and counter-charges from each candidate’s campaign questioning the character of the other man. Martins has served as mayor of Mineola since 2003, and credited himself with reviving the financial fortunes of the village. Johnson slammed Martins for raising taxes in Mineola, trying to position himself as a fiscal conservative.
Johnson was the first Democrat elected to the seat in recent memory, winning a special election in 2007 and reelection two years ago.
When asked what he considered the difference in the race, Martins said, “The truth. People realized that things in Albany needed to be changed.”
A Martins victory would enable the Republicans to recapture all nine Long Island senate seats and could give them a slim majority in the state Senate.
The 7th Senate District includes New Hyde Park, the Willistons, Roslyn, Great Neck, Port Washington, Mineola, Westbury, New Cassel and parts of Franklin Square and Elmont.
One of the local Congressional races provoked anxiety for both camps, as Republican challenger Francis X. Becker led incumbent Carolyn McCarthy in the 4th Congressional district race by a margin of 6,000 votes late in the evening. But McCarthy ultimately prevailed 89,828 votes to 77,483 votes with 99 percent of the precincts reporting. McCarthy stuck by her support of the federal health care legislation in her campaign, while Becker sought to cast her as a representative who was out of touch with her constituents.
“Yesterday, the voters of the 4th Congressional District sent a clear message,” McCarthy said in a statement. “They said ‘no’ to the Party of No, to the distortion of facts and to the politics of division. They said ‘yes’ to reason and to government taking aggressive measures to protect consumers, small businesses, taxpayers, and the working class.”
McCarthy, 66, serves on the House of Representatives Committee for Education and Labor and also is chairwoman of the Subcommittee on Healthy Families and Communities.
A visibly dejected Becker had positive words for the process as he faced almost certain defeat at the Republican celebration.
“The Democratic process is always amazing to me, that we have disagreements over issues and it’s always done in a peaceful way,” Becker said.
The 4th Congressional District comprises New Hyde Park, Floral Park, Garden City, the Willistons, Mineola, Westbury, Hampstyead, Malverne, Valley Stream, Lynbrook, Rockville Centre and the Five Towns.
In the 5th Congressional district race, incumbent Gary Ackerman handily defeated Dr. James Milano and Elizabeth Berney, garnering 62 percent of the votes cast to win his 15th term in the seat. Milano recorded 37 percent of the votes and Berney got 1 percent of the total votes.
The 5th Congressional District consists of portions of northeastern Queens County and northwestern Nassau County with over 650,000 people from many backgrounds. The Queens portion of the district, which represents 70 percent of the voters, includes the neighborhoods of Bayside, Corona, Douglaston, Flushing, Jamaica Estates, Little Neck, and Whitestone. The Nassau portion of the district includes Albertson, Great Neck, Manhasset, Port Washington, Roslyn, Sands Point, Williston Park and New Hyde Park.
Ackerman also won the majority of the votes in Nassau County by getting 21,858 while Milano earned 18,065 votes and Berney received 112 votes.
Ackerman, 67 from Roslyn Heights, is chairman of the House Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia and vice chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee.
Incumbent Democrat Michelle Schimel in the 16h Assembly District defeated Scott Diamond by 6,000 votes receiving 58 percent of the district’s votes.
“I am grateful for all the supporters who came out to vote in this election,” Schimel said. “I am delighted to be back serving this district under a new administration in state government. I have my work cut out for me, but I have an agenda and plan to go forward with it despite so many new players on the scene after this year’s elections.”
The 16th Assembly District includes Great Neck, Manhasset, Port Washington, Herricks, Mineola and East Williston. Schimel has represented the 16th Assembly District since March 2007.
Schimel serves on the board of New Yorkers Against Gun Violence and is a member of the energy, environmental conservation, local governments, transportation, veterans and majority steering committees in the state Assembly.
Republican incumbent Thomas McKevitt easily overcame Democratic challenger Thomas Devaney to retain his 17th Assembly District seat, garnering 23,513 votes to 14,313 votes with 99 percent of the precincts reporting. That enabled McKevitt to achieve his goal in the campaign.
“It was my goal to break 60 percent,” he said. “The huge Republican turnout neutralized whatever anti-incumbent sentiment that was out there.”
McKevitt is the ranking minority member on the committee on the Judiciary and the Committee on Mental Health, and also serves on the Insurance, Small Business, and Aging committee
The 17th Assembly District comprises the Willistons, Mineola, New Hyde Park, Garden City Park, Garden City, Uniondale, North Merrick and North Bellmore.
Republican Ed Ra, a political novice, prevailed in the three-way race for an open seat in the 21st Assembly District. Ra drew 17,899 voters to Democrat Patrick Nicolosi’s 14,625 votes. Working Families candidate Mimi Pierre Johnson drew 1,519 votes.
Ra, deputy attorney for the Town of Hempstead, said he was “elated” and “humbled” to receive the support to win the seat.
“I’m eager to get to work. There’s a lot of work to be done,” he said.
The 21st Assembly District comprises Elmont, Franklin Square, Malverne, West Hempstead, North Valley Stream, Floral Park and part of New Hyde Park.
In a special election to fill a one-year term to become the Town of North Hempstead’s Receiver of Taxes, Democrat Charles Berman beat Republican Jeff Bass by more than 5,000 votes.
Berman, 55 from North Hills, won his first ever Election Day race. Berman has been named interim receiver of taxes by the Town of North Hempstead town board in 2003 replacing Ann Galante and also last January taking over for Rocco Iannarelli.
“I want to thank the residents of North Hempstead for giving me an opportunity to continue serving them,” Berman said. “I look forward to continuing to work hard to make the tax paying process as convenient as possible for our residents.”
In statewide results, Democrat Andrew Cuomo trounced Conservative Carl Paladino to win the governor’s office, nearly doubling Paladino’s numbers as he garnered more than 2.5 million votes, 62 percent, to 1.4 million votes, 34 percent for Paladino.
Democrat Thomas DiNapoli, a Great Neck native, narrowly defeated Republican Harry Wilson in the race for comptroller, drawing more than 1.9 million votes to more than 1.8 million votes.
The race for state attorney general was not as closely contested as anticipated, with Democrat Eric Schneiderman beating Dan Donovan with more than 2.1 million votes to 1.7 million votes.
Results for those statewide races are based on results with 97 percent of the precincts counted.
Both New York Democrats prevailed in their respective races to retain their U.S. Senate seats. Charles Schumer doubled the vote count of Republican challenger Jay Townsend, 2.6 million votes to 1.3 million votes to win his third Senate term. Kirsten Gillibrand won by a similar margin over Republican challenger Joseph Dio Guardi, drawing more than 2.4 million votes to 1.4 million votes.