"I would not be adverse to leading the state party at this time," Joseph Mondello allowed, during an interview on the stage where minutes earlier a legion of victorious Republicans had each taken the time to praise his leadership.

It was a grand old night-into-early morning for the Nassau Republican Party.

They'd won every state Senate race except the nail-biter that has Republican Jack Martins slightly ahead of incumbent Democrat Craig Johnson. Even as that race awaits a count of absentee ballots, Republicans were confident enough to announce Martins as the winner.

They'd returned every incumbent Republican to the Assembly and won two seats in open contests. They'd won every judgeship. And came close to knocking out veteran Republican-turned-Democrat U.S. Rep. Carolyn McCarthy.

Contrast that with the mess on the state level, where New York State Republicans lost races for governor, comptroller and attorney general. The difference was hardly lost on a giddy Nassau party leader Mondello, who was dumped from the statewide party leader post in favor of Edward Cox.

"I'd like to do it again," Mondello said. "There were many, many things that were trying when I was there. We were bankrupt. Now, everything's better than it was then."

He ran down a list of races lost by state Republicans on a night when Republicans elsewhere were making grand stride.

"The only big successes we have in this state is right here, on Long Island," Mondello said, wrapping in Lee Zeldin's win over incumbent Democratic state Sen. Brian Foley.

The Nassau wins loom large.

Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford), who spent the evening in Westbury comfortably pressing the flesh and catching up with neighbors, will take on the leadership role on homeland security.

In Albany, Dean Skelos likely will lead not just the state Senate, but a group of at least eight Long Island senators - nine if Martins wins. That's a big deal for a region that's suffered under New York City-dominated Democratic rule.

"It's going to be back to basics," Skelos said. Cutting taxes and expenses will be a big priority. "It has to be back to basics because that's what the public wants."

In addition, Skelos and the local senators - along with King in Washington - could be in a position to lend Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano a hand in trying to steady Nassau's fragile finances.

As for Mondello, he said he was already beginning to plan for next year's contests in Nassau. He wants to get North Hempstead - the Democrats' last stand - back. And he's also looking forward to 2012.

"We're going to do what the public demands to be done, we're going to cut spending, cut taxes," Mondello said. "Because if we don't do it, we're going to get thrown out."

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