Republicans will back Alexis Weik, the Islip town receiver of taxes, to try to upset Sen. Monica Martinez in a Suffolk County district they believe presents one of the party’s best chances to regain ground in the 2020 elections.
Weik, 47, said Martinez, a first-term Democrat, has been helping carry out a New York City-centric agenda in the state Legislature and “doesn’t seem to be out there voting for her constituency.” She specifically criticized Democrats’ initiatives supporting abortion rights, fees for driving into parts of Manhattan (“congestion pricing”) and “bail reform,” which means implementing cash-free bail for most misdemeanors and nonviolent crimes.
“She is voting for things dangerous and radical,” Weik, 47, who just last month was elected to a third four-year term as Islip tax receiver.
Martinez, 42, (D-Brentwood) won her first term in 2018, taking a Senate district that had long been considered a safe Republican seat.
That she rolled to victory over Republican Dean Murray was perhaps the biggest sign of the “blue wave” election that swept the GOP out of power in the Senate after controlling the chamber for all but a few years over the last five decades. Democrats went from a one-seat minority to a 40-23 Senate advantage. They also won all the statewide offices and gained three congressional seats in New York. As a result, Democrats at the State Capitol approved dozens of high-profile bills backed by progressives in 2019.
Weik is jumping into the race while the political winds here still seem to be in the Democrats’ favor.
With Republican President Donald Trump at the top of the 2020 ticket, Democrats say they will pick up even more Senate districts. Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D-Yonkers) recently predicted her party will win at least 43 seats. Further, five veteran Republican senators have announced their retirements in the last three weeks, a sign, analysts said, that Democrats might “flip” more seats long held by the GOP.
“That doesn’t scare me at all. That’s actually exciting to me,” Weik said about the string of Democratic wins and Republican retirements. She noted she broke into town government, as deputy tax receiver, when Republicans won back Islip from the Democrats.
Stewart-Cousins' spokesman Mike Murphy noted Martinez supported legislation to make the state's property-tax cap permanent, raise education funding and outlaw "revenge porn."
"Monica has been an amazing and historic addition to the conference," Murphy said. "She will win re-election and once again deliver for Long Island and all of New York state. The last thing New York state needs is someone that is part of town government with some of the highest local taxes."
Weik said eight years in her current post has made her close to her constituents.
“I hear their complaints. Taxes are too high. They’ve got a lot of concerns and they feel like no one is listening to them,” she said. “I’d really like to be their voice.”
Weik grew up in Islip, graduated from Dowling College, worked as a personal trainer, as well as aide in the county legislature, and as deputy tax receiver before first winning elective office in 2011. She is a 26-year resident of Sayville.