GOP candidates win Nassau, Suffolk district attorney races
Republican candidates swept the Nassau and Suffolk district attorney races on Tuesday.
In Nassau, Republican Anne Donnelly, a longtime county prosecutor, declared victory against Democratic State Sen. Todd Kaminsky in their campaign for an open seat.
In Suffolk, Democratic incumbent Timothy Sini conceded to former federal prosecutor Ray Tierney, who ran on the Republican and Conservative party lines.
"Thank you for caring about Nassau County, for wanting to keep it safe and back(ing) the candidate that backs the blue," Donnelly said at a county Republican watch party at the Coral House in Baldwin. "I am excited to get to work to make a difference. Mr. Chairman, we did it!"
As Donnelly led in early returns, she pledged to lobby Albany to amend a state bail reform law and "continue to prosecute crimes and keep our homes safe and let residents know they have a voice and someone to talk to about crimes committed against them."
From a GOP watch party in Patchogue, Tierney said he planned to start working Wednesday and that "I can't wait to get going to do the business of keeping Suffolk safe."
"I will fight every day to keep the citizens of Suffolk County safe," Tierney told the crowd at Stereo Garden in Patchogue. "I will be fair and I will reach out to the community to develop relations so we can all have faith in our district attorney's office."
Sini said he conceded the race to Tierney in a voicemail and pledged an "orderly transition."
"This is a red wave. There's no coming back," Sini said at his campaign headquarters in Hauppauge. "We lost this race."
Suffolk GOP chairman Jesse Garcia, who is also GOP Hispanic outreach coordinator at the county Board of Elections, said Republican turnout was "going to change the way government runs in Suffolk County."
"After 30 years, Suffolk has a prosecutor instead of a politician," Garcia said.
Jay Jacobs, the state Democratic chairman, had predicted a "bumpy night" for the party in Nassau County, particularly with the district attorney’s race. He said Democrats will concede the DA race.
"Republican misinformation on bail reform was a big factor, I think, in moving voters," Jacobs said.
As of Monday, the Nassau County Board of Elections had received 19,895 absentee ballots out of 38,348 requested, and the Suffolk County Board of Elections had received 14,231 of 32,259 requested absentees. Those votes won't begin to be counted until seven days after the election.
Also in Suffolk, Democratic Sheriff Errol Toulon Jr. was leading in his reelection bid against Republican William Amato, who is not actively campaigning.
The district attorney candidates in both contests have touted their prosecutorial experience and have fought to prove to voters they would best protect public safety.
In Nassau, the candidates competed to replace Democratic former District Attorney Madeleine Singas, who resigned this year to become an associate judge on the State Court of Appeals. The winner of Tuesday’s election will serve out the remainder of Singas’ term, which ends in 2023.
Acting District Attorney Joyce Smith has run the office since June. She pledged to work with Donnelly's campaign, saying Donnelly "has served the people of Nassau County for decades."
"She knows this office well and I congratulate her on her victory. I look forward to working with her to ensure an orderly transition and have confidence that Nassau will remain America’s safest county," Smith said in a statement.
Donnelly, 57, of Garden City, has been a prosecutor in the Nassau District Attorney’s Office for 32 years. She left the office to compete in this election and also ran on the Conservative Party line.
She most recently served as deputy chief of the Rackets and Enterprise Crime Bureau. She spent the previous 12 years as acting chief of the Public Corruption Bureau and deputy chief of the Financial Crimes Bureau.
Donnelly said she wants to update the DA’s Technology Crimes Unit, address opioid addiction, take down drug-dealing operations and work with law enforcement to deal with the state’s bail reform law.
Tierney, 55, of Holtsville, had touted his experience as a former assistant U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York for 11 years and a former Suffolk County prosecutor for 14 years. He has prosecuted cases against the MS-13 gang, and high-profile political corruption cases, including against former Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano.
Tierney, who is not registered in a political party, is chief of compliance and enforcement for Suffolk County Off-Track Betting Corp.
Tierney said he would indict more gun cases, reestablish a gang unit, lobby the State Legislature to overturn bail reform laws and utilize ShotSpotter to identify shooting locations and increase gang surveillance.
State bail reform became a top issue in both contests, with the Republican candidates saying the law poses a threat to public safety and creates a "revolving door" of justice.
The law, passed by the State Legislature as part of the budget in 2019, eliminated cash bail for most nonviolent crimes and misdemeanors.
Donnelly and Tierney oppose the law and tried to portray their opponents as staunch supporters of it.
In Suffolk, incumbent Sini said he has targeted MS-13 gang violence, environmental crimes, drug dealing and political corruption since taking office in 2018. Sini, 41, of Babylon, cited a drop in crime during his tenure, including a significant reduction in MS-13 gang violence.
Sini, a former assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, previously served as Suffolk County police commissioner and as deputy county executive for public safety.
Sini told gathered supporters, including Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, he was proud of his work as DA.
"We came into an office that was marred with scandal, that was a complete disaster, and we reformed it, and no one can take that away from us," Sini said.
With Matthew Chayes, Lisa Colangelo, Keldy Ortiz and John Asbury