Suffolk Republican Party chairman Jesse Garcia addresses supporters at the...

Suffolk Republican Party chairman Jesse Garcia addresses supporters at the party's election night headquarters at Stereo Garden in Patchogue Tuesday. Credit: Newsday/Steve Pfost

This story was reported by Scott Eidler, Candice Ferrette and Carl MacGowan. It was written by Eidler and Ferrette.

Republicans turned out voters across Long Island on Election Day in larger numbers than Democrats, fueling a red wave that gave the GOP control of the Suffolk County executive's office, expanded their majority in the Suffolk Legislature and maintained control in the Nassau Legislature.

Ed Romaine defeated Democrat Dave Calone on Tuesday, becoming the first Suffolk County executive to be elected as a Republican since 1999. Republicans gained one seat to clinch a 12-6 supermajority in the legislature.

In Nassau, Republicans maintained their legislative majority of 12-7, one vote shy of a supermajority.

The wins further cemented the GOP's hold on Long Island, where in the past three years the party has also captured Nassau's county executive seat, control of the Suffolk Legislature for the first time since 2005, both district attorney offices and four congressional seats.


  • Republicans turned out voters across Long Island on Election Day in larger numbers than Democrats, giving the GOP control of the Suffolk County executive's office, expanding their majority in the Suffolk Legislature and maintaining control in the Nassau Legislature.
  • The wins further cemented the GOP's hold on the Island, where in the past three years the party has also captured Nassau's county executive seat, control of the Suffolk Legislature for the first time since 2005, both district attorney offices and four congressional seats.
  • Nassau Democrats blamed redrawn legislative maps for some losses, while Suffolk Democrats said concerns over immigration policy and differing views with New York City and state Democrats dampened turnout.

"They really had everything going for them. The playing field was stacked for them. The organization was primed and the state and local issues were working for them," said Larry Levy, executive dean of the National Center for Suburban Studies at Hofstra University.

Overall turnout in Suffolk, where 1,045,151 people are registered to vote, was about 26%, according to preliminary returns. In Nassau, where there are 981,793 registered voters, turnout was about 21%, according to preliminary returns. 

In Suffolk, 33.7% of Republicans voted in the general election, compared with 25.7% of Democrats, according to preliminary election board data as of Wednesday morning. More than 20% of voters not affiliated with political parties cast ballots.

In Nassau, 32.2% of Republicans cast ballots in local races, compared with 23.6% of Democrats, as of 8 p.m. Tuesday. More than 15% of unaffiliated voters headed to the polls.

Election officials were still counting absentee and mail-in ballots on Wednesday.

A 'well-oiled machine'

In Nassau, Republicans flipped the 18th Legislative District, where Samantha Goetz defeated Legis. Joshua Lafazan (D-Woodbury). Democrats balanced out the loss with two other wins: Democrat Scott Davis defeated Republican Michael Lucchesi in the 1st District, which includes Rockville Centre and Hempstead, and Democrat Seth Koslow beat Republican Joseph Baker in the 5th District, which covers Freeport, North Merrick and Merrick.  

Jay Jacobs, chairman of the state and Nassau Democratic Committees, said Lafazan was at a disadvantage because of new legislative maps adopted by the legislature in February that significantly changed the demographics of some districts. Democratic-led lawsuits against the maps are pending.

"We are working with district lines that were gerrymandered dramatically during redistricting," Jacobs said. "In spite of that, we maintained our seven seats and thwarted [Republicans'] main effort to achieve a supermajority. That was our first priority."

Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman, a Republican who defeated Democrat Laura Curran in 2021, said voters had given Majority Republicans a "decisive victory."

"It all comes down to four issues: crime, migrants, taxes and inflation. I think that people were very angry with Washington D.C. and Albany, and they took it out on the Democratic party locally," Blakeman said. Republicans ran "candidates who were on the right side of the issues."

Although Republicans in both counties "were able to build a well-oiled machine and employ that machine with some very good messaging," Levy cautioned that increasing numbers of voters unaffiliated with political parties remain a key voting bloc.

"For as high as the red wave remains in Suffolk and Nassau, Long Island is still a suburban swing area where voters don't cater to extremism of any stripe," Levy said.

Suffolk Democrats blame 'boogeymen'

Suffolk Democrats lost two seats they held on the North Fork and northern Brookhaven. 

Suffolk Democratic Chairman Rich Schaffer said concern over immigration policy — and Republican enthusiasm — dampened Democratic turnout.

"By no fault of their own, the good candidates we had running are saddled with the incompetence and the sheer stupidity of the Democrats in the city and the State Legislature,” Schaffer said. “Turnout is a factor because Republicans get energized by creating these boogeymen, and the Democrats aren’t as enthusiastic to show up because the Republicans are so energized."

Jesse Garcia, chairman of the Suffolk Republican Party, said the GOP ran up the score in Smithtown and Brookhaven, where there are more Republican voters, and focused on areas where Republican turnout isn't always high. 

"We were going to run competitively in every possible race; we wanted to stretch out our resources," Garcia said.

Garcia said the party aggressively tried to turn out voters in Huntington Town, where Democrats had hoped to unseat two Republicans in the county legislature.

Democrat Rebecca Sanin, of Huntington Station, defeated Republican Legis. Manuel Esteban, of East Northport. But Legis. Stephanie Bontempi (R-Centerport) fended off a challenge from Democrat Eve Meltzer-Krief, also of Centerport.

“We saw that Democrats had targeted parts of Huntington," Garcia said. He added that the party went after its own "targeted voters," or ones they knew were very likely to vote Republican based on surveys, polls, texts and in-person exchanges. "We were driving out the targeted voters we needed to in the Town of Huntington.”

Presiding Officer Kevin McCaffrey (R-Lindenhurst), who won his reelection in the 14th District, said the GOP gains and Romaine's win put the party in position to advance its agenda on issues such as crime, sewers and spending. 

“It’s always good to have a supermajority, especially when we have a Republican county executive, who I know very well," McCaffrey said. "This gives us the ability to put forward our agenda, which is a shared agenda with him.”

In Suffolk's 1st District, Democrat Al Krupski of Cutchogue was term-limited and ran successfully for Southold Town supervisor. Republican Catherine Stark defeated Democrat Catherine Kent for his legislative seat.

Republicans also flipped Suffolk's 6th District, where Legis. Sarah Anker (D-Mount Sinai) was term-limited. Republican Chad Lennon defeated Democrat Dorothy Cavalier.

Rejoining the legislature is Steven Englebright, a Setauket Democrat who served nearly a decade on the body before joining the State Assembly. Englebright on Tuesday won a 5th District seat that was vacated by term-limited Democrat Kara Hahn in August.

“Democrats’ role as always is to put forward ideas and help drive the mission of the highest level of service to the people," Englebright said. "That’s our continuing role. Always has been, whether we’re in the minority or we have the majority.”


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