Republican Dean Murray held a lead of hundreds of votes over Democratic Assemb. Edward Hennessey Tuesday for the 3rd Assembly District, following a campaign that made headlines after the GOP hired a private investigator to put a GPS tracker on the incumbent's car to prove he lived outside his district.
Murray, the district's former assemblyman, late Tuesday night led Hennessey (D-Medford) with all precincts reporting but 1,023 absentee ballots still uncounted, according to the Suffolk County Board of Elections.
Hennessey narrowly defeated Murray in 2012 by 226 votes.
Republicans claimed Hennessey did not live in the district, but failed in attempts to remove him from the ballot last summer.
GOP officials responded by hiring a private investigator to attach a GPS tracking device onto Hennessey's car to attempt to prove his residency was ineligible. A judge ruled his legal address was in Smith Point.
Murray said he expected a tight race, but felt good about his chances. He said voters had a chance to see both candidates serve in the Assembly and compare their voting records. Murray said he also benefited by belonging to a strong slate of local Republican candidates.
"We knew it would be a nail-biter down to the wire," Murray said Tuesday. "I'm hopeful that lead will hold."
Hennessey's campaign did not return several calls for comment.
Voters cast ballots Tuesday in 10 Assembly races in Nassau and 12 in Suffolk. Control of the chamber is not in play, with Democrats holding 99 seats and Republicans holding 40.
There are 11 vacant seats, including Nassau's 20th District and Suffolk's 11th District, where Assemb. Harvey Weisenberg (D-Long Beach) and Assemb. Robert Sweeney (D-Babylon), respectively, are retiring. Democrats retained both seats.
In Nassau, former Assistant U.S. Attorney Todd Kaminsky, a Long Beach Democrat, defeated Republican Avi Fertig of Lawrence, an aide to the Hempstead Town Board in the race to replace Weisenberg.
With all precincts reporting, Kaminsky won decisively.
Kaminsky, the former deputy chief of the Public Integrity Section for the Eastern District of New York, campaigned largely on bringing state resources to the South Shore, which was severely damaged during superstorm Sandy.
"With our collective efforts, we will work to make our communities more affordable, more resilient, and better than ever," Kaminsky said.
In the 11th Assembly District, Democrat Kimberly Jean-Pierre, who once worked as a minority outreach coordinator for Rep. Steve Israel, won the seat vacated by Sweeney, defeating Republican Mark Gallo and James Butler, who was running on the Conservative line.
In District 1, Assemb. Fred Thiele Jr. (I-Sag Harbor), who is also running on the Democratic line, defeated Republican Heather Collins and Conservative Brian DeSesa. Thiele has held the seat since 1995.
In District 2, Assemb. Anthony Palumbo (R-New Suffolk) won a second term against Democrat Thomas Schiliro, a Suffolk police sergeant.
In District 4, Assemb. Steven Englebright (D-Setauket) beat Republican Christopher Keegan. Englebright has held the seat since 1992.
In District 5, Assemb. Alfred Graff (R-Holbrook) won a third term against Democrat Deborah Slinkosky.
In District 6, Assemb. Phillip Ramos (D-North Bay Shore), who has held the seat since 2002, defeated his former deputy chief of staff, Victoria Serpa, who was running on the Republican line.
In District 7, Assemb. Andrew Garbarino (R-Sayville) won a second term against Democrat Deborah Pfeiffer.
In District 8, Assemb. Michael Fitzpatrick (R-St. James) won his seventh term against Democrat Jason Zove.
In District 9, which includes parts of Nassau and Suffolk, Assemb. Joseph Saladino (R-Massapequa), who has held the seat since 2004, defeated Democrat Edward Buturla.
In District 10, Assemb. Chad Lupinacci (R-South Huntington) won a second term against Democrat Dominick Feeney Jr.
In District 12, Assemb. Andrew Raia (R-East Northport) was running unopposed and captured his seventh term.
In District 13, Assemb. Charles Lavine (D-Glen Cove), who has held the seat since 2004, defeated Republican Louis Imbroto and Green Party candidate Jeffrey Peress.
In District 14, Assemb. David McDonough (R-Merrick) won his eighth term, beating Democrat Gaspare Tumminello, a deputy chief of staff to the Democratic minority in the Nassau legislature.
In District 15, Assemb. Michael Montesano (R-Glen Head) won a third term against Democrat Mario Ferone.
In District 16, Assemb. Michelle Schimel (D-Great Neck), who has held the seat since 2007, held back Republican Douglas Lee.
In District 17, Assemb. Thomas McKevitt (R-East Meadow), who has held the seat since 2006, defeated Democrat Jonathan Clarke.
In District 18, Assemb. Earlene Hooper (D-Hempstead), who has represented the district since 1988, beat Republican Cornelius Todd Smith.
In District 19, Assemb. Edward Ra (R-Franklin Square), secured a third term, defeating Democrat Gary Port.
In District 21, Assemb. Brian Curran (R-Lynbrook) won a second term, besting Democrat Adam Shapiro.
In District 22, Assemb. Michaelle Solages (D-Elmont) won a second term, defeating Republican Gonald Moncion.