New York State Sen. James Gaughran (D-Northport), who trailed Republican challenger Edmund Smyth in early election night returns, won re-election to a second term Wednesday after absentee ballots were counted.
Smyth, a Huntington Town Councilman, conceded to Gaughran after the incumbent came out on top as Suffolk County Board of Elections officials counted the unusually large amount of absentee ballots mailed in due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“I congratulate Senator Gaughran on his re-election,” Smyth said. “He has my un-bargained for support. I encourage all residents who voted for me to support him as well to make Senate District 5 and the State of New York the best it can possibly be.”
Gaughran, whose district spans the North Shores of eastern Nassau and western Suffolk counties, was one of several Democrats who appeared to be losing close contests on Election Day but were waiting for elections officials to tally the paper ballots. A handful of other close local state Senate races also hinge on absentee ballots. State Sen. Kevin Thomas (D-Levittown) declared victory Tuesday after also waiting for paper ballots.
Gaughran is one of the so-called Long Island Six, a bloc of Democratic state senators from the region, who was pivotal in helping flip the balance of power in the chamber from Republican to Democratic leadership in 2018.
“I am humbled to be re-elected by the residents of the 5th Senate District and I thank them for their support,” Gaughran said. “During my first term in office, I worked tirelessly on behalf of Long Islanders and I am proud to have delivered real results — from a permanent property tax cap to support for small businesses navigating the COVID-19 pandemic. I will keep fighting for my constituents, for Long Island, and for all of New York State and I thank the voters for giving me the opportunity to continue to serve them.”
Jay Jacobs, who leads the New York State and Nassau County Democratic party chapters, congratulated Gaughran on the win.
“I want to commend Ed Smyth on running a strong campaign and on the clear respect for the democratic process that he has today demonstrated by his classy concession,” Jacobs said. “I wish him and his family well.”
Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D-Yonkers) echoed the sentiment.
“I offer my heartfelt congratulations to Senator Jim Gaughran on his reelection,” he said. “Since first joining the Senate in 2018, as part of the historic freshman class that helped flip the Chamber to Democratic control, Jim has been an outspoken advocate for his constituents, and for the needs of his community. Jim’s chairmanship of the Local Governments Committee has been a source of leadership and stability for local governments throughout the state as they struggle with this pandemic, economic crisis, and uncertainty from Washington. I am thrilled that the 5th Senate District voters have returned Jim Gaughran to the Democratic Majority.”
Timothy Bolger is the Editor in Chief of the Long Island Press who’s been working to uncover unreported stories since shortly after it launched in 2003. When he’s not editing, getting hassled by The Man or fielding cold calls to the newsroom, he covers crime, general interest and political news in addition to reporting longer, sometimes investigative features. He won’t be happy until everyone is as pissed off as he is about how screwed up Lawn Guyland is.