Todd Kaminsky Confirmed Winner of Ex-Sen. Skelos Seat

Todd Kaminsky, Chris McGrath and Lawrence Seth Hirsh
From left: Todd Kaminsky, Chris McGrath and Lawrence Seth Hirsh

New York State Assemb. Todd Kaminsky (D-Long Beach) is expected to be sworn in Tuesday as the new state senator representing the southwest corner of Nassau County upon his winning a pivotal recent special election. He is Long Island’s first Democratic state senator in six years.

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Nassau County Board of Elections officials certified Monday that Kaminsky beat Republican opponent Chris McGrath, an attorney from Hewlett, in the race to replace ex-State Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre), who was expelled from office when he was convicted on federal corruption charges in December.

“This district has been without representation for close to five months, and we look forward to his immediate swearing in,” said State Senate Minority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D-Yonkers).

Kaminsky, who will represent the 9th Senate District, will be the lone Democratic state senator from Long Island, where the other eight state senators are Republicans. The group was previously known as the Long Island Nine. The last Democratic state senator was Nassau’s Sen. Craig Johnson, who lost by 451 votes to former Mineola Mayor Jack Martins in 2010. Kaminsky’s victory will give Democrats a 32-31 majority in the chamber, but the GOP is expected to retain control thanks to their alliance with six breakaway Democrats.

“I am honored that my neighbors have elected me to deliver for Long Island and clean up Albany as their State Senator,” Kaminsky said in a statement. “For far too long, South Shore taxpayers have been the victim of politicians who put themselves before their community and I pledge to fight everyday to return our state government to the people”

The results were certified one day before the state legislature returns from its spring break. LI’s newest senator will only have two months to negotiate legislation before the legislative session ends in June, unless a special session is called later this year before the new session starts in January. Kaminsky will also have to run for re-election in November for a full two-year term.

Ethics reform was among the top issues in the Kaminsky-McGrath race as a result of Skelos’ and his son Adam’s convictions, which they are appealing. They face up to 20 years in federal prison when they’re scheduled to be sentenced this month.

Kaminsky declared himself the winner in the race when unofficial results showed him winning by nearly 800 votes two hours after the polls closed April 19. McGrath refused to concede, and his campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Coming in third place was Green Party challenger Laurence Seth Hirsh, an accountant from Valley Stream.