Joye Brown has been a columnist for Newsday since 2006. She joined the newspaper in 1983 and has Show More
There came a point, as Tuesday turned to Wednesday at a restaurant adjacent to Nassau GOP headquarters, where reporters watched Madeline Singas declare victory on a computer screen, when many of the party faithful in the room had no clue that their candidate, Kate Murray, had lost the fight for district attorney.
Yes, turnout was low in Nassau, for races that also included the county legislature and supervisor of the Town of Oyster Bay, which has been rocked by a federal indictment that alleges that a town official took bribes.
But voters -- and especially Nassau Republican voters who came nowhere near party headquarters on Tuesday -- nonetheless managed to fire off a string of strong messages about what they want, and what they don't, from the night's winners.
Voters want checks and balances, not single-party rule. Which they cemented by denying Republican lawmakers a supermajority -- which means that the GOP will have to keep reaching across the aisle for at least one necessary Democratic vote on borrowing and other significant moves.
But voters didn't stop there.
They also deprived Nassau's GOP of a clean sweep of countywide offices -- with Republicans in traditionally GOP strongholds strategically navigating their ballots to deny Murray, Hempstead's popular supervisor, the district attorney post by voting for a Democrat, Singas.
"Singas ran a great race, stayed on message about her experience as a prosecutor and not a politician, and that resonated with voters in all parties," County Executive Edward Mangano, a Republican, said Wednesday.
Voters accept -- even if they don't like -- tax increases in a county desperate for revenue.Every incumbent lawmaker in Nassau won re-election, despite the GOP majority's decision last year not to override Mangano's veto of amendments to a tax increase. Which means voters didn't punish them for it. And guess what, the GOP majority is likely to do the same this year -- once Mangano, as expected, vetoes amendments that deep-sixed an increase for 2016.
Voters ignore endorsements, even from powerful police unions, if need be. Police unions endorsed and put considerable resources into Murray's race. And she lost against Singas in every Nassau town -- including her own.
Voters want corruption curbed. Which makes the sheer reach and depth of Singas' monster win against Murray -- the early-on favorite -- a mandate.
Whether it's public money funding political mailings, questions about contracting systems in Nassau and its towns, or allegations of police misconduct, Singas would do well to bring expertise enough into the DA's office to get results if she intends on gaining a second term.
Voters want elected officials to lead.Norma Gonsalves (R-East Meadow), the legislature's presiding officer won re-election -- perhaps in part for her tendency to go up against Mangano on issues such as school speed-zone cameras and tax increases.
But Gonsalves, indeed all of Nassau's lawmakers, can -- and should -- do more. Take the renovation of Nassau Coliseum project, for example, which last week changed majority ownership. How could the project have been flipped without warning, review and county oversight?
Somebody, please, get to the bottom of this.
Voters in Nassau are not -- and likely never again will be -- as predictable as they once were.Which, really, should come as no surprise given Long Island's fast-changing demographics, the rise of voters aligned with no major political party and the ubiquity of social media.
Which could make next Election Day even more unpredictable.