In a close Suffolk election, Assemb. Marc Alessi has conceded defeat to Republican opponent and Suffolk Legis. Dan Losquadro, while in Nassau, GOP Mineola Mayor Jack Martins once again has a lead by more than 400 votes over state Sen. Craig Johnson (D-Port Washington) for the Albany seat.
Earlier this week Alessi had trailed Losquadro by 906 votes after all absentee ballots had been counted.
"Unfortunately, the hard work of many legislators was overshadowed by the dysfunction in Albany," Alessi said in a statement. "For five years, I worked tirelessly for the hardworking families of Suffolk and kept my pledges to the people who elected me. I will forever be proud of that. . . . I wish Assemblyman-elect Dan Losquadro the best of luck as he represents the 1st Assembly District."
In an interview, Losquadro said, "I look forward to this upcoming legislative cycle in Albany because there are very serious problems that must be addressed for the future of our state and the future of Long Island."
In the Johnson-Martins race, the added numbers resulted from counting 136 of 170 absentee ballots that had been set aside for review by Nassau State Supreme Court Justice Ira Warshawsky, who has oversight of the close election.
Martins, who had been leading by 320 votes Wednesday morning, now leads by 411, said election officials, who stopped the counting at 4 p.m.
The 170, which have been dubbed "veracity" ballots, were set aside because of Democratic challenges, charging they resulted from a mailing by the State Republican Committee advising voters they could cast absentee ballots. The Democrats argue that many, maybe most, of these voters did not meet the guidelines for absentee voting and should not be counted.
In a late morning telephone conference that election officials, lawyers for both sides and a court appointed referee had with Warshawsky, he ordered the ballots opened.
The Democrats, who have a case in court next week on the issue, preserve their rights by having the ballots photocopied and the copy placed in the mailed envelope for a later review by Warshawsky.
"Those ballot numbers will be taken out of the count when I prevail," said Steven Schlesinger, the lawyer for Johnson.Compiled by James T. Madore