The rematch between New York State Assemb. Ed Hennessey (D-Shirley) and his Republican predecessor, Dean Murray, whom Hennessey unseated two years ago, remained too close to call a day after Election Day.
That tight race was the lone potential upset across 22 state Assembly seats on Long Island, when voters re-elected 13 Republicans to Albany’s lower chamber, where Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan) maintains a comfortable majority. Voters also re-elected six Democrats, elected two more to replace a pair of retiring Democratic Assemblymen and returned one independent that caucuses with the majority.
“We’re back,” Murray exclaimed to supporters Tuesday night, when he was leading Hennessey by 629 votes, according to unofficial early returns from the Suffolk County Board of Elections. More than 1,200 absentee ballots remain to be counted. Hennessey representatives did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Hennessey, an attorney and former Brookhaven town councilman, also ran on the Working Families Party line. Murray, who runs R&S Advertising Inc., had the Conservative and Independence party lines. Murray first won his seat in a 2010 special election and was re-elected once before being ousted by Hennessey.
Assembly GOP campaign workers placed a GPS tracking device on Hennessy’s vehicle in a failed attempt to prove that Hennessey doesn’t actually live in the district and was ineligible to run—a move that instead sparked various legislation to outlaw private citizens using GPS trackers.
Of the two Assembly seats where the incumbent didn’t run for re-election, there was one on either side of the county line. In Suffolk, Kimberly Jean-Pierre, the 30-year-old Wyandanch Community Resources Center leader from Wheatley Heights, won the race to replace outgoing Assemb. Robert Sweeney (D-Lindenhurst), who’s retiring after 26 years of representing the western and northern halves of Babylon town. Fifty-seven percent of voters cast their ballots for Jean-Pierre while 33 percent voted for the Republican, Mark Gallo and eight percent voted for the Conservative, James Butler, both of Lindenhurst, according to the unofficial tallies.
In the Nassau open Assembly seat race, 36-year-old Todd Kaminsky of Long Beach, a Democrat, won the seat being left vacant by outgoing state Assemb. Harvey Weisenberg (D-Long Beach), who is retiring from the Assembly, where he represented the southwest corner of Nassau for a quarter century. Kaminsky won 54 percent of the vote over his Republican rival, Avi Fertig, who came home with 45 percent, early results show.
In the other 19 races across Nassau and Suffolk counties, Assemb. Fred Theile (I-Sag Harbor) won with 60 percent of the vote over Republican rival Heather Collins of Southampton, who earned 32 percent of votes and Conservative challenger Brian DeSea of Sag Harbor, who secured seven percent in the South Fork district.
Assemb. Anthony Palumbo (R-New Suffolk) comfortably won his second term with 63 percent of votes over his Democratic challenger, Thomas Schiliro of Manorville, who won 36 percent in the North Fork district.
Assemb. Steven Englebright (D-Setauket) was re-elected to his twelfth term representing the northwest corner of Brookhaven town by 57 percent over his Republican rival, Christopher Keegan of Port Jefferson Station, who won 42 percent.
Assemb. Al Graf (R-Holbrook) won his third term representing the central-western area of Brookhaven town and northeastern corner of Islip town by a margin of 57 percent over Democratic opponent Deborah Slinkosky of Holbrook, who won 32 percent.
Assemb. Phil Ramos (D-Brentwood), who proposed to his girlfriend on stage upon winning his seventh term representing the northwest corner of Islip town—she said yes—trounced his Republican rival and former staffer Victoria Serpa, also of Brentwood, by a margin of 68 to 31 percent.
Assemb. Andrew Garbarino (R-Sayville) dominated his Democratic challenger, Deborah Pfeiffer of Bayport, by a margin of 70-to-30 percent to win a second term representing the South Shore of Islip town and East Pachogue.
Assemb. Michael Fitzpatrick (R-St. James), widely considered one of the most conservative members of the state Legislature, handily won his seventh term representing a district that includes all of the Town of Smithtown and a sliver of northern Islip town. He beat his Democratic opponent, Jason Zove of Commack, 65-to-34 percent.
Assemb. Joe Saladino (R-Massapequa) won his sixth full term in office after winning a special election in 2004, this time by a margin of 14,589 votes over his Democratic challenger, Ed Buturla of West Babylon. Saladino represents a U-shaped district that includes Seaford and Massapequa, Jones Beach, plus the southeastern corner of Babylon town and southwestern corner of Islip town.
Assemb. Chad Lupinacci (R-Huntington) topped Democratic hopeful Dominick Feeney of Melville 63-to-37 percent for his second term representing the western half of Huntington town.
Assemb. Andrew Raia (R-East Nortport) sailed to his seventh term with 99 percent of the vote after running unopposed to continue representing the eastern half of Huntington town, the northeastern corner of Babylon town and the northwestern corner of Islip town.
Assemb. Charles Lavine (D-Glen Cove) won 60 percent of the vote over Republican rival Louis Imbroto of Plainview, who came home with 39 percent while Green Party candidate Jeffery Peress secured one percent. Lavine will go on to his sixth term representing a backward C-chaped district that stretches along the coast from Rosyln to Oyster Bay and inland from Woodbury to Westbury.
Assemb. Dave McDonough (R-Merrick) easily beat Gaspare Tumminello, a Democratic challenger from North Merrick, by a margin of 68-to-31 percent for his seventh full term after winning a special election in 2002 to represent the southeastern corner of Nassau from Baldwin Harbor to Levittown.
Assemb. Michael Montesano (R-Glen Head) came just as close with 66 percent of the vote over Mario Ferone, his Democratic opponent from Plainview, who won 33 percent. Montesano goes on to his third full term after winning a special election in 2010 to represent a spaghetti-shaped district that includes Bayville, Syosset, Salisbury, Hicksville and Farmingdale.
Assemb. Michelle Schimel (D-Great Neck) won her fourth full term representing the northwestern corner of Nassau with 60 percent of votes over Republican rival Douglas Lee of Manhasset, who won 39 percent.
Assemb. Thomas McKevitt (R-East Meadow) beat Democratic challenger Jonathan Clarke of Levittown by a margin of 69-to-30 percent to win his fifth full term representing central Nassau after winning the seat in a special election in 2006.
Assemb. Earlene Hooper (D-Hempstead), the deputy Assembly speaker, won her 14th full term representing central Nassau after winning a special election in 1988, this time crushing Republican rival Cornelius Smith of Lakeview with 84 percent of the vote over his 15 percent.
Assemb. Ed Ra (R-Garden City South) won his third term representing the central Nassau district by a wide margin of 69-to-30 percent over Democratic opponent Gary Port of West Hempstead.
Assemb. Brian Curran (R-Lynbrook) won his third term representing a sliver of the southwestern corner of Nassau 63-to-36 percent over Democratic challenger Adam Shapiro of East Rockaway.
And freshman Assemb. Michaelle Solages (D-Elmont) won her second term representing the central Nassau district that abuts the city line with 59 percent over Republican rival Gonald Moncoin of Valley Stream, who won 40 percent.