Islip Supervisor Tom Croci, a last-minute replacement as the Republican nominee for the open 3rd District State Senate seat, defeated his Democratic opponent Adrienne Esposito last night as Republicans retained control of the entire nine-member Long Island Senate delegation.
Croci, 42, became the Republican nominee after fellow Islip Town board member Anthony Senft dropped out of the race in the midst of a toxic dumping scandal at Roberto Clemente Park in Brentwood. Esposito, 53, an environmentalist, ran on the Democratic line although she's not registered in any party.
In the 8th District, Nassau Legis. Michael Venditto, 33, a Massapequa Republican, rebuffed fellow legislator and lawyer David Denenberg (D-Merrick), 51, who said he had withdrawn from the race but remained on the ballot.
Some polls had projected Denenberg would win until his former law firm filed a lawsuit in September alleging that he billed more than $2 million for fictitious work. Supporters continued to campaign for Denenberg after he dropped out, even doing robocalls for him over the past several days, while he continued to appear at community events.
The two Senate districts had opened up this year when Sen. Lee Zeldin of Shirley took a second shot at running for Congress against Democratic U.S. Rep. Tim Bishop, of Southampton, while Sen. Charles Fuschillo of Merrick resigned last Dec. 31 to take a job with a nonprofit organization.
For part of his term as Islip supervisor, Croci was deployed in Afghanistan as a commander in the U.S. Navy Reserve.
"It's certainly a good night for the people who fought for this country and want the best for this country," he said in his victory speech. "I understand that this seat is very important to Long Island and very important to New York."
In Nassau's 7th District, the third-most hotly contested race, Republican incumbent Sen. Jack Martins, 47, a former Mineola mayor who lives in Old Westbury, defeated Democratic businessman Adam Haber, 49, of East Hills, who sank $1.13 million of his own money into the race.
"It just reaffirms a great message we had, which is keeping our taxpayers first, providing tax relief, holding the line on spending, and taking care of Nassau County residents," Martins said.
In the other races:
1st District: Longtime Sen. Kenneth LaValle, 75, a Republican from Port Jefferson seeking a 20th two-year term, defeated Democrat Michael Conway, 57, a union carpenter from Manorville.
2nd District: Incumbent Republican Sen. John Flanagan, 53, of East Northport, held off a challenge by Democratic elections board clerk Joseph Lombardi, 34, of Centereach.
4th District: Incumbent Republican Philip Boyle, 53, of Bay Shore, defeated Democratic elections board employee John Alberts, 31, of North Babylon, who did not actively campaign.
5th District: Incumbent Republican Carl Marcellino, 71, of Syosset, who has served in the State Senate for nearly 20 years, defeated challengers Sea Cliff Mayor Bruce Kennedy Jr., 50, who switched his registration from Republican after the party dropped him as a candidate for state Assembly, and Libertarian Georgina Bowman, 55, of Huntington.
6th District: Longtime Republican incumbent Kemp Hannon, 68, of Garden City, defeated Democrat Ethan Irwin, 40, of Levittown.
9th District: Longtime Republican Incumbent Dean Skelos, 66, of Rockville Centre, co-leader of the Senate, beat Democrat Patrick Gillespie Jr., 24, an election board employee from East Rockaway.
With Ted Phillips