New York State Sen. Jack Martins (R-Mineola) held on to his seat Tuesday, defeating his Democratic challenger, Adam Haber, in one of the most closely watched Election Day races on Long Island.
The 47-year-old won his third term by a margin of 56 to 43 percent, according to unofficial election results from the Nassau County Board of Elections.
“What a night! What a night! We had an historic victory this year, an historic victory,” Martins said at Nassau GOP election night headquarters in Westbury. “People get it,” he continued. “They understand that they’re better off today than they were five years ago. They understand that it’s about maintaining control of our taxes, controlling spending, bringing back our fair share on Long Island, and making sure that our kids can succeed, because we will invest in our schools. That’s what it’s all about.”
Martins, who unseated his Democratic predecessor by running on opposition to the unpopular MTA Payroll Tax, was seen as the favorite for much of the race. Haber, a successful businessman, tried to portray himself as a political outsider fed up with government mismanagement. In the end, it wasn’t enough to unseat Martins, a veteran politician who previously served as the mayor of the Village of Mineola.
This marks the second straight year Haber lost in pursuit of higher office. Haber, a Roslyn School Board member, was defeated by Tom Suozzi last year in the Democratic primary for county executive.
He quickly rebounded, concentrating his efforts on Martins’ seat. Despite loaning his campaign $550,000 during the final leg of the campaign, Haber was unable to make up significant ground on the incumbent.
Martins maintained a double-digit lead for much of the race, according to a Newsday/News 12 Long Island/Siena College poll.
The two competitors disagreed on several issues, most notably a portion of the Women’s Equality Act that deals with abortion. Haber said he would vote for the bill as-is, while Martins supports all but the abortion rights piece of the bill.
Martins also touted bi-partisan gains made in the state Legislature in recent years, specifically passage of the 2-percent property tax cap and passing four consecutive on-time budgets, which was a break from years of state budgets passing late.
There were few surprises in the other eight LI state Senate races, with Sen. Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre) recapturing a majority in the upper chamber of the state Legislature upon his re-election. All the local incumbents were re-elected as well and Nassau County Legis. Michael Venditto (R-Massapequa) won the seat vacated by ex-Sen. Charles Fuschillo (R-Merrick).