GOP May Have Made Gains In Long Island Assembly Races

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The New York State Capitol in Albany. (Shutterstock)

Republicans appear to have held on to four open New York State Assembly seats on Long Island that were vacated by GOP lawmakers and may have flipped up to four local Democratic-held seats, if early leads hold up once absentee ballots are counted.

Three Republican challengers who may have unseated incumbents are former Suffolk County prosecutor Michael Ross over state Assemblyman Steven Englebright (D-Setauket), RSA Financial Group office manager Jamie Silvestri over state Assemblyman Steve Stern (D-Dix Hills), and Malverne Village Trustee Patricia Canzoneri-Fitzpatrick over state Assemblywoman Judy Griffin (D-Rockville Centre), according to unofficial early returns from the state Board of Elections. Absentee ballots will ultimately decide these and other races.

“Griffin will win,” Jay Jacobs, chair of the Nassau County and New York State Democratic parties, told the Press. Of Englebright and Stern, Suffolk County Democratic Chairman Rich Schaffer said, “Because of the overwhelming registration edge we have in both races we believe they will both be winners once all of the ballots are counted.”

If those three hang on to their seats, up to five GOP freshmen on Long Island will likely still join the region’s 22-member state Assembly delegation, although Democrats maintain a majority in the chamber.

Of the five potential GOP newcomers, only one, Assembly District 16, is fully in Nassau County, where state Assemblyman Anthony D’Urso (D-New Hyde Park) is retiring after two terms. The Republican candidate, yogurt business owner Ragini Srivastava, leads Democrat Gina Sillitti, who’s worked in Nassau and Town of North Hempstead government, 41 to 48 percent of the vote, early returns show.

One of the five, the 9th Assembly District, straddles the county line. In that race, the candidates are vying to replace outgoing state Assemblyman Michael LiPetri (R-Massapequa), who lost a GOP congressional primary bid. Republican Michael Durso, a sanitation supervisor for the Town of Oyster Bay, leads Democrat Ann Brancato, a former healthcare executive, 62 to 29 percent, returns show.

The other three races are in Suffolk County. In the 2nd Assembly District, Riverhead Town Councilwoman Jodi Giglio, a Republican, is leading Democrat Laura Jens-Smith, the former Riverhead Town Supervisor, 58 to 34 percent, returns show. That seat was vacated by state Assemblyman Anthony Palumbo (R-New Suffolk), who is running for state Senate.

In the 7th Assembly District, Democrat Francis Genco, a former Islip Town official and ex-East Islip school board member, is trailing 31 to 59 percent to Republican Jarett C. Gandolfo, chief of staff of state Assemblyman Andrew Garbarino (R-Sayville), who vacated the seat to run for Congress.

And in Assembly District 12, both candidates are lawyers. Republican Keith Brown leads Democrat Michael Marcantonio to replace former state Assemblyman Andrew Raia (R-Huntington), who left the legislature after being elected Huntington Town Clerk. 

Since there was an unusually large amount of absentee ballots cast this Election Day due to the coronavirus pandemic, the unofficial early returns may not give a clear indicator of who won. Elections officials are expected to begin counting paper ballots a week after the election. Final results may take a few weeks.

The remaining 14 incumbent Assembly members representing LI are on track to win re-election.

Related Story: Possible Upsets Eyed In Long Island State Senate Races

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