Seven points about last week’s elections:
1) Long Island got its first-ever woman county executive, Democrat Laura Curran, in Nassau. With that, come Jan. 1, women will hold the top elected spots in the county and two of its three towns — North Hempstead and Hempstead — leaving Oyster Bay to Republican Supervisor Joseph Saladino.
2) Republican voter turnout in Hempstead was significantly lower than expected for incumbent Supervisor Anthony Santino, who lost to Democrat Laura Gillen. That gave Curran a boost in her county race against Republican Jack Martins. Curran also got a lift from black, Hispanic and immigrant voters.
3) Rob Walker and Brian Nevins, the Republican brain trust behind Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano’s unexpected victory over former County Executive Thomas Suozzi in 2009, pulled off the seemingly impossible again last week for Saladino in Oyster Bay.
Like Mangano eight years ago, Saladino had been expected by his own party to lose as a result of government-related corruption charges against some county GOP officials.
The Saladino campaign kept to one message — that Saladino’s administration would not be like that of former Republican Supervisor John Venditto, who is fighting federal charges. Saladino, according to unofficial results, ended up winning more votes than his four opponents combined.
4) Come January, two — rather than one — political parties will have clout in Nassau.
That last happened in 1999, when Democrats took the legislative majority for the first time in more than 70 years while Republican Thomas Gulotta was county executive.
Nassau’s GOP had stopped supporting Gulotta after the county’s bond rating dropped to near-junk status. During that time, the legislature’s presiding officer, Democrat Judy Jacobs, who died last year, took an active role in budget oversight, ethics and other issues, often with support from GOP lawmakers.
5) Jay Jacobs — whose last big election night as Nassau Democratic chairman was in 2001, when Suozzi was elected as the first Democratic county executive in three decades — is back on top.
“I was about to resign had we lost” the county executive race, Jacobs said last week. “As Democrats, with a couple of exceptions, our dry spell had gone on too long.”
However, Jacobs disagreed with an assertion that eight years of one-party rule in Nassau under Democrats — during Suozzi’s two terms ending in 2009 — ended up looking pretty much like one-party rule under Republicans. Majority Democrats, at best, ignored Republican initiatives, just as Republicans ignored the Democrats’ ideas when the Republicans were in control.
“I don’t think that’s so,” Jacobs said. “But now I’m looking to build something that meets what’s needed in these times, building on lessons from the contentiousness of the past.”
6) Joseph Mondello, venerable chairman of Nassau’s GOP, had a rough night Tuesday.
But while his party is splintered by infighting, never count Nassau Republicans out.
The party still controls the county legislature — which means the party still controls a number of patronage jobs, including those at the county’s Off-Track Betting Corp.
And the GOP still controls Hempstead’s Town Board. Could Gillen name a Republican as deputy town supervisor? Perhaps, since the board’s lone Democrat, senior Councilwoman Dorothy Goosby, supported Santino for re-election.
7) Let’s not forget Suffolk County.
The election of Democrat Tim Sini as district attorney further consolidates Democratic County Executive Steve Bellone’s power.
And if Democrat Errol Toulon Jr. prevails in his race for sheriff against Republican Larry Zacarese — unofficial returns had Toulon ahead of Zacarese by only 1,354 votes before absentees are counted — that would put Bellone-aligned Democrats in charge of the county executive’s office, the legislature and the district attorney’s and sheriff’s offices.
Yep, that’s in Suffolk — which, with its budget woes and the consolidation of power under one party — could be looking more and more like Nassau.