GOP’s Dean Murray Regains State Assembly Seat

From left: New York State Assemb. Ed Hennessey (D-Shirley) and his Republican predecessor, Dean Murray, whom Hennessey unseated two years ago. Murray won a rematch on Election Day.

Republican Dean Murray unseated freshman Assemb. Edward Hennessey (D-Shirley) in a rematch after the Democrat had ousted Murray two years prior, according to unofficial Suffolk County Board of Election results both cited.

Hennessey, a lawyer and former Brookhaven town councilman, conceded the race after absentee ballots were counted this week. Murray, an advertising company owner from East Patchogue, had initially won the seat in a 2010 special election and was re-elected the following year before Hennessey won the seat from Murray in ‘12.

“It wasn’t a good year to be a Democrat in Brookhaven,” Hennessey said, adding that he’s still interested in running for elected office—whether the 3rd Assembly District again in 2016, or another title.

The unofficial returns after the polls closed on Election Day showed Murray beat Hennessey by 629 votes. But, after more than 1,000 absentee and other paper ballots were counted, that margin was 526, said Hennessey, who won the seat from Murray two years ago by 226 votes. Elections officials said the results will be certified next week.

“I am thrilled that the voters in the 3rd Assembly District have placed their trust and confidence in me and I look forward to getting to work to represent them in Albany,” Murray wrote on his Facebook page.

Only 29 percent of 78,195 registered voters—22,752—in the district cast their ballots, according to the state and county elections boards. That’s slightly above the 28 percent voter turnout statewide, which experts say is the lowest in 72 years. The third Assembly district—made up of more than 129,000 residents—includes 25,333 registered Democrats, 24,401 Republicans, 21,702 unaffiliated voters and 6,759 minor party members.

Aside from the usual issues of taxes and education, the race took a strange turn when Assembly GOP campaign workers had 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.

Every other incumbent state Assembly member on LI was re-elected and two local seats in which Democratic incumbents are retiring were remained in the hands of Democrats, who have the majority in the chamber.