Long Island Democrats appeared to lose a vacant seat in the State Assembly but maintained an open one while incumbent assembly members in both major parties islandwide appeared headed toward victory, according to precinct returns Tuesday night.
In Nassau, Democratic North Hempstead Town Councilman Anthony D’Urso, 77, appeared headed toward a decisive victory over his opponent, Matt Varvaro, 25, in the race for the open 16th State Assembly seat, according to Nassau election returns Tuesday night. Varvaro, of Port Washington, recently served as an aide to George Pataki’s presidential campaign.
In the other open Long Island Assembly race, for the vacant 20th District, early election returns showed Republican Melissa Miller, 52, an advocate for legalizing medical marijuana from Atlantic Beach, headed towards a victory over Democratic Long Beach City Councilman Democrat Anthony Eramo, 42, and Joseph Naham, 33. Naham, a surveyor for Empower Solar, was running on the Green Party line. The 20th Assembly District encompasses Long Beach, Woodmere, Oceanside and other South Shore communities in Nassau.
“I’m going to bring perspective of the regular person . . . and that’s been lacking,” Miller said late Tuesday night.
The Assembly chamber, unlike the State Senate, was not in jeopardy of a leadership change. Democrats had maintained a 63-seat margin ahead of Election Day, with 105 lawmakers conferencing with the party, compared to the Republicans’ 42.
The races for the open seats were set in motion after five-term Democrat Michelle Schimel (D-Port Washington) announced earlier this year that she would not seek re-election for the 16th Assembly District seat. Former 20th District Assemb. Todd Kaminsky (D-Long Beach) was elected to the State Senate in an April special election.
Prior to Election Day, Republicans on Long Island had maintained a 13-8 edge over Democrats in Assembly.
Early returns for Assembly seats in Suffolk County showed incumbents leading with 100 percent of the vote counted. Leaders included Assemb. Fred Thiele Jr. (I-Sag Harbor); Assemb. Anthony Palumbo (R-New Suffolk); Assemb. Dean Murray (R-East Patchogue); Assemb. Steven Englebright (D-Setauket); Assemb. Al Graf (R-Holbrook); Assemb. Philip Ramos (D-Brentwood); Andrew Garbarino (R-Sayville); Michael Fitzpatrick(R-St. James; Chad A Lupinacci (R-Huntington); Kimberly Jean-Pierre (D-Baylon); Andrew Raia (R-East Northport).
In Nassau’s Republican Assembly races, incumbents Brian Curran (R-Lynbrook), David McDonough (R-Merrick), Tom McKevitt (R-East Meadow), Michael Montesano (R-Glen Head), Joseph Saladino, (R-Massapequa), and Edward P. Ra (R-Franklin Square), all appeared headed to victory as did Democratic Assembly incumbents, Charles Lavine (D-Glen Cove), Earlene Hooper (D-Hempstead), and Michaelle C. Solages (D-Elmont)
— With John Asbury