Of the 22 Assembly races this year, two were being eyed particularly close Tuesday night.
Early results in Nassau County indicated Democrat Michaelle Solages was ahead of Republican Sean Wright in the newly created 22nd District. In Suffolk County, early results in the 7th District race showed Republican Andrew Garbarino leading Democrat Christopher Bodkin.
In the 22nd District, which was created by redistricting after the 2010 Census, Democrats were looking to widen their 51-seat margin in the Assembly with Solages, 27, of Elmont, a librarian at Hofstra University. Republicans put their hopes on Wright, 43, of North Valley Stream, a deputy attorney for the Town of Hempstead. Both candidates are making their first forays into running for public office and both are concerned with Belmont Park.
Solages, who is also on the Working Families line, said she believes redeveloping Belmont Park will help bring jobs but wants it done in a way that would preserve residents' quality of life.
Job creation is also a focus for Wright, who is on the Independence and Conservative lines as well. Wright said he would also like to work on building a stronger relationship among the Elmont, Belmont Park and New York Racing Association officials.
In Suffolk, the 7th District race was being closely watched after a last-minute decision by Assemb. Philip Boyle (R-Bay Shore) to seek the seat of retiring state Sen. Owen Johnson (R-West Babylon) created an open spot.
Bodkin, 65, of West Sayville, is a former Republican who spent 16 years on the Islip Town Board, losing re-election in 2009 after he turned Democrat. He is chairman of the Islip Community Development Agency and is a part-time aide in the Suffolk County Legislature. Garbarino, 28, of Sayville, is an attorney who since the age of 14 has been helping his father, William, run campaigns. Garbarino's father ran losing county legislature races against Steve Levy and William Lindsay.
Bodkin said he wants to focus on taxes, affordable housing and energy costs. On the latter issue, Bodkin said lower energy costs would create jobs by attracting manufacturers to Long Island.
Garbarino, who is also on the Conservative, Independence and Main Street lines, helps run a foundation that administers college scholarships. He wants to eradicate unfunded state mandates that he said drive up school costs. He also wants to loosen regulations on small businesses, eliminating roadblocks for startups.