While still part of a heavily Democratic state, Suffolk Republicans say they saw gains in the November election where some of their candidates, running on a pro-law enforcement agenda, are on the verge of officially being certified as victorious.
Suffolk County GOP Chairman Jesse Garcia said at a press conference in Melville Wednesday that the Suffolk Republican delegation will grow by one member and will represent 20% of the state Republican delegation in the state Senate.
Locally, state Senate candidate Anthony Palumbo of New Suffolk and Assembly candidate Jodi Giglio of Baiting Hollow have enough votes so that the are mathematically ensured of victory, according to Mr. Garcia.
He said the same holds true of Congressman Lee Zeldin of Shirley, who declared victory on election night in his race against Democratic challenger Nancy Goroff. He was elected to a fourth term.
The vote totals are expected to be certified by the Suffolk Board of Elections on Monday, according to Mr. Garcia.
Other Republicans who are expected to be certified include incumbent Senator Phil Boyle in the 4th District; Senator-elect Alexis Weik, who defeated incumbent Democrat Monica Martinez in the 3rd District and Mario Mattera, who won in the 2nd District.
Mr. Palumbo has served seven years in the state Assembly, but this year he was elected to fill the 1st District state Senate seat long held by Ken LaValle of Port Jefferson, who decided to seek reelection. Ms. Giglio, who did not attend the press conference, was elected to Mr. Palumbo’s Assembly seat.
“This is one of the greatest times of my life,” Mr. Palumbo said during the press conference. He said he was honored to succeed Mr. LaValle.
“Today is a very special day for the residents of Suffolk County,” Mr. Garcia said. “Specifically, the taxpayers, small business owners, frontline workers and first responders, and men and women of law enforcement.”
He said the gains made by Suffolk Republicans “are a resounding rejection of the Democratic one-party rule,” which he said “have made families less safe, raised their taxes, and driven away good jobs which have hurt the economy.”
Statewide, Democrats control both the Senate and Assembly as well as the governor’s seat.
“New Yorkers have not only chosen to return to a Democratic majority, but they’ve chosen to return a super majority,” said Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins at a press conference earlier this week. “And we will assert ourselves accordingly.”
Mr. Palumbo, in an interview after the press conference, said that the Republican’s strategy of targeting Democrats as weak on crime worked. Mr. Garcia said Republicans believe it will work in two years as well, when the next state elections are up.
“They went from pro-defendant legislation to now, direct anti-police legislation, and that spoke volumes I think in this election,” Mr. Palumbo said.
But he said the Democrats now have a veto-proof majority as a result of this year’s elections and that will give Democrats more leverage in future redistricting plans as well.
He said the New York City contingency “drives the bus” statewide.
“New York City is almost half the vote of the whole state,” he said.
Republicans were concerned during this year’s campaigns by the influx of people from the city moving to Long Island, particularly on the North Fork, he said.
“That was a huge issue in my district,” he said, since many of those people also voted on the East End.
“We had thousands of people in Senate District 1 who changed their registration from New York City,” he said. “That’s ironic because they were fleeing the [Mayor Bill] de Blasio policies and then they thought they could bring it out here and vote for Democrats.”
Ms. Giglio could not immediately be reached for comment.