Democrat John Brooks officially unseated freshman New York State Sen. Michael Venditto (R-Massapequa) following a five-week-long recount, although the upset victory is not expected to tip the balance of power in Albany.
Brooks, a former Seaford school board member, beat Venditto by 258 votes in the Nassau County portion of the 8th state Senate district, and that margin of victory could rise when hundreds of remaining paper ballots are counted Friday in the Suffolk County side of the South Shore district, officials said.
“This is not my win alone, this is a win for all Long Island families,” Brooks said. “Folks, I am going to Albany for you. I will work everyday to make you proud. I will work everyday to keep my campaign promises of cutting property taxes, funding education, and ending corruption in Albany.”
Brooks initially had a 33-vote margin in the unofficial election results, a close call that triggered a recount hinging on more than 8,000 absentee and other paper ballots. Brooks was confident that the recount was going his way when he declared victory two weeks ago, when more than 1,000 of those ballots were challenged in court. Venditto conceded the race Thursday.
“The campaign is over and all of the votes have finally been tallied,” Venditto said. “I would like to congratulate Senator-Elect John Brooks on his victory. I ask all residents of the 8th Senatorial District to join with me in supporting Senator-Elect Brooks during his upcoming term. Together we can make our great District even better.”
Venditto, a former Nassau County legislator who won his first two-year term to the state Senate in 2014, is the son of Oyster Bay Town Supervisor John Venditto, who pleaded not guilty in October to federal corruption charges. Although the senator was not charged in connection with his father’s alleged bribery and kickback scheme, the case is believed to have impacted the race.
Democrats technically now have a 32-31 majority in the state Senate, but GOP lawmakers are expected to maintain control of the chamber because a conservative Democratic senator from Brooklyn who sided with Republicans. That leaves Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan (R-Smithtown) in control when the legislature begins its next session in January.