ALBANY — Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone is scheduled to meet Senate Democratic leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins Thursday to develop a strategy of winning suburban Senate districts statewide with “common-sense Democrats.”
“I think she really understands the issues and concerns we have in the suburbs,” Bellone, a Democrat in a county won by Republican President Donald Trump in 2016, said in an interview Wednesday.
The meeting comes as Senate Democrats seek to further crack the Republican dominance of Long Island and upstate in another effort to wrest the GOP from their narrow control of the chamber. Bellone said he also plans to meet with one of the Democrats who have won on Long Island, Sen. Todd Kaminsky (D-Long Beach).
The strategy includes running on a theme of “common-sense” governing as Republicans increasingly accuse Democrats in New York of being too liberal.
“People are sick and tired of the Republicans and their culture of corruption and their support for Trump’s tax assault on middle class New Yorkers,” said Mike Murphy, a spokesman for Stewart-Cousins (D-Yonkers).
Senate Republicans, however, have heard this claim before. The GOP has held the Senate majority despite a more than 2-to-1 voter disadvantage. Republicans have focused on creating jobs, lowering taxes, raising school aid, public safety and other issues that polls show are priorities of suburban voters.
“Our majority is the only thing standing in the way of the Democrat socialists implementing their radical agenda next year,” Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan (R-East Northport) told county Republican leaders Wednesday.
Flanagan spokesman Scott Reif said “New York City Democrats” when they briefly held the majority in 2009 saw some of their leaders charged with corruption and raised spending and taxes.
“Even Steve Bellone knows only the Senate Republicans will protect taxpayers and deliver for Long Island,” Reif said.