A special election to fill a State Assembly seat in Nassau County has been more like a 100-yard dash than a marathon — and, accordingly, Republicans and Democrats are raising and spending money in a hurry.
At stake is a seat vacated by Melissa Miller, a Republican who represented the 20th Assembly District in southwest Nassau for just over five years before resigning in February for an appointment to the Hempstead town board.
Her departure set up a special election for April 7. Early voting is underway, available at sites at the county Board of Elections in Mineola, the Lawrence Country Club and Long Beach City Hall.
The political parties didn’t settle on candidates till early March, giving them little time to throw together a campaign. But they’ve been raising and spending money vigorously.
State records show Nassau Republicans have spent $62,000 in March to promote Eric “Ari” Brown, a Cedarhurst village trustee, in the party’s bid to hold on to the seat. Party officials said they’ve spent on districtwide mailings, as well as newspaper and social media ads. Brown has raised $12,400 on his own, independent of the party.
David Lobl, a former Cuomo administration official, has raised $78,000 in his bid to return the seat to the Democrats — a district they held from 1967 until Miller’s win in November 2016.
Lobl, 37, who also lives in Cedarhurst, said Tuesday his three campaign issues are public safety, local roads and sidewalks, and local development. He said lawmakers need to change the state’s bail law, which eliminated the option of bail for most misdemeanors and nonviolent felonies.
He added: “In the Five Towns, there is a ton of overdevelopment that I’d like to rein-in.” He said there needs to be more local input on development. And he said he’d be an “independent voice” in Albany.
Lobl also has said that a Democrat would be able to make a bigger impact in the Assembly where his party holds a better than 2-1 advantage. His campaign-finance statement showed little spending prior to the final weekend in March, but he said he is now stepping it up to reach as many voters as possible.
Brown, 54, has been a village trustee for more than two decades and heads a real estate company.
“We feel the issues of bail reform and tax relief will be on our side,” Nassau GOP Chairman Joseph Cairo said Tuesday.
The district has about 35,000 active Democratic voters; 29,000 Republicans. Cairo said Miller’s run in office helps the GOP’s chances.
“By enrollment, it favors the Democrats,” Cairo said. “[Miller’s] victory was a surprise. But I think Missy’s work has brought it the other way and I think Ari is looking to continue that.”