Suffolk County Democrats lost one key seat in their legislative majority but made up for it by unseating a renegade member who didn’t caucus with the party and recapturing another open seat.
The unofficial election results of Tuesday’s election appear to ensure that Steve Bellone, in his sophomore year as Suffolk County executive, can still rely on the chamber led by Democratic allies despite the slight turnover.
“We’ve done a lot in two years,” Bellone told a crowd of several hundred cheering supporters at the IBEW Local 25 Hall in Hauppauge. “But you haven’t seen anything yet!”
The two biggest legislative upsets came when Republican Kevin McCaffrey, a Lindenhurst village trustee, won the seat held by outgoing temporary Presiding Officer Wayne Horsley (D-Babylon) and when political newcomer Monica Martinez unseated fellow Democrat Legis. Rick Montano (D-Central Islip).
“Right now the county executive has a veto-proof majority in there and people don’t like that,” McCaffrey told the Press at the Suffolk GOP gathering in Patchogue. “They want to be able to have some sort of balance in the legislature.”
There were a few nail-biters, including when Legis. Sarah Anker (D-Mt. Sinai) narrowly fended off GOP challenger Jennifer Juengst 52 to 48 percent, the same margin that William Lindsay Jr., son of the late presiding officer, beat Republican Anthony Musumeci.
But, the political makeup of the 18-member body will mostly remain the same as Republican Robert Trotta won the seat held by term-limited Legis. Lynne Nowick (R-St. James), keeping it away from Democrat Elaine Turley.
Democratic incumbents who held off Republicans include freshman Legis. Al Krupski (D-Cutchogue), Legis. Kara Hahn (D-Setauket), Legis. Robert Calarco (D-Patchogue), Legis. Dr. William Spencer (D-Centerport), Legis. Lou D’Amaro (D-Huntington Station) and Majority Leader DuWayne Gregory (D-Amityville). Legis. Steve Stern (D-Dix Hills) ran unopposed.
Republican lawmakers who resisted Democrats include Legis. Tom Muatore (R-Ronkonkoma) and Minority Leader John M. Kennedy Jr. (R-Nesconset). Legis. Tom Cilmi (R-East Islip) and Legis. Tom Barraga (R-West Islip) were both uncontested.
Third-party incumbents Legis. Kate Browning (WF-Shirley) and Legis. Jay Schneiderman (I-Montauk) were also re-elected.
Suffolk Democratic Chairman Rich Schaffer, who was re-elected Babylon Town Supervisor, credited the wins to Lindsay’s father, who died this summer.
“We miss him dearly…he’s left us too soon,” Schaffer said. “But I know today he is with us. He is here and he is smiling down because the one thing he told me…was ‘Rich, don’t screw up Billy’s campaign.'”