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Long IslandPolitics

Nassau, Suffolk, NYC hold primaries on Tuesday

A woman casts her primary vote at a

A woman casts her primary vote at a polling station in Nesconset on Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2016. Democrats, Republicans and minor party voters in Suffolk and Nassau are voting in primaries that are expected to be low-turnout races in which party faithful decide the outcome. Photo Credit: Ed Betz

Democrats, Republicans and minor party voters in Suffolk and Nassau will go to the polls Tuesday in primaries that are expected to be low-turnout races in which party faithful decide the outcome.

Polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Primary candidates for five state legislative seats on Long Island are vying to be on the Nov. 8 ballot.

That includes attempts to unseat veteran Assemb. Phil Ramos (D-Brentwood) and a three-way Democratic primary to face freshman state Sen. Tom Croci in November.

  • In Nassau, Deputy Assembly Speaker Earlene Hooper (D-Hempstead) is facing a Democratic primary from challenger Carmen Piñeyro in the 18th District, while former Nassau Legis. Jeff Toback is facing Anthony Eramo in a Democratic primary in the 20th Assembly District. In Suffolk, freshman Assemb. Kimberly Jean-Pierre (D-Wyandanch) faces a primary from Jordan K. Wilson, a North Babylon mental health counselor, in the 11th Assembly District.
  • In Manhattan, a six-way Democratic primary fight will determine a candidate to run for the seat of Sheldon Silver, the longtime Assembly leader who was convicted on corruption charges a year ago.
  • Nassau also has an eight-way Reform Party primary for Family Court primary for four spots, and a four-way 2nd District Court Reform Party primary for two spots.

With only 57 Reform Party members in Nassau County, the number of candidates vying for the line could well exceed votes cast on Election Day. The line was created by former Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino in 2015, but could be valuable in judicial elections.

In Southampton, there also are Conservative and Working Families primaries for one town justice post.

Suffolk Conservative Party voters, meanwhile, will select 982 committee members in 491 election districts. Those committee members will eventually vote on the party’s next chairman.

  • Brookhaven Conservative Party co-chairman Kenneth Auerbach is trying to unseat Conservative Chairman Frank Tinari, who succeeded Edward Walsh after Walsh was convicted of golfing, gambling, and doing political work while getting paid for his county job.
  • In the 6th Assembly District, Giovanni Mata, 37, is in his third attempt to defeat Ramos. Mata is being helped by a pro-charter school group that has flooded the district with attacks on Ramos. The super PAC New Yorkers for Independent Action disclosed it is spending $321,262 on Mata’s behalf before the primary.

Mata, a commercial insurance salesman for Northwell Health, said he supports more state funding for public schools, particularly for local districts that have had to accommodate unaccompanied minors from other countries. Mata said he has no position on charter schools.

Ramos said the super PAC is retaliating against him for his successful efforts to block charter schools in Islip. He said he has helped empower the community and brought home funding from Albany, including $2 million for the pool at Roberto Clemente Park in Brentwood. The Fund for Great Public Schools, backed by the state teachers union, also has done anti-Mata mailings.

  • The 3rd State Senate District pits a political newcomer against two longtime party veterans who hope to unseat Croci.

John De Vito, 25, a law student from Shirley, has the backing of the Brookhaven Democratic executive committee. He says voters are looking for “new blood” to clean up zombie properties, bring more aid to the district and end public corruption in Albany.

Joe Fritz, 71, cited his own record of fighting for tax relief for those living near zombie properties and tainted parklands. Fritz also said he has actively opposed the proposed 9,100-unit Heartland project in Brentwood, saying it would prompt drastic hikes in school taxes.

Rick Montano, a former Suffolk legislator, said he’d work to ban outside income for state lawmakers. Montano, 66, cites his record overhauling the county ethics board.

  • In the 11th Assembly District, Jean-Pierre, 32, seeking a second term, is facing Wilson, 53, a longtime Democratic activist.

Wilson says he is waging a primary “as a public service” because Republicans failed to name an opponent to Jean-Pierre.

Wilson supports free tuition for community college students, longer hours at community centers to provide counseling and additional money to improve infrastructure.

Jean-Pierre said she has helped restore state aid for schools that was lost during the Wall Street meltdown, and brought extra aid to community groups to help area youth.

She also said she is concentrating on bringing jobs to the district while reducing recidivism and crime.

  • In the 18th Assembly District, Hooper, 77, of Hempstead, who has served 14 terms, faces a rare Democratic primary opponent in Piñeyro, 40, a Freeport village trustee.

Hooper, a former state social worker, has faced resistance from Democratic leaders in the district as she pushed legislation to transfer the old Freeport Armory to a nonprofit group that would offer programs for at-risk youth. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo vetoed Hooper’s bills in 2013 and 2014, and she has continued to introduce the legislation in the past two years without success.

Hooper, who did not respond to multiple requests for comment, has said she wants to get the armory “into the hands of the community, where it can do the most good.”

Piñeyro, who has served two terms as a village trustee and works as chief compliance officer of United Northern Mortgage Bankers in Levittown, says Freeport needs the former National Guard facility to store public works equipment.

In the 20th Assembly District, Eramo, a Long Beach city councilman, and Toback are in a heated Democratic primary for a seat vacated in April when Todd Kaminsky, who is supporting Eramo, was elected to the state Senate.

The Nassau Democratic Party and several private-sector labor unions are backing Eramo, 42, a two-term councilman. A Verizon field technician and chief steward of CWA Local 1106, Eramo supports prohibiting state lawmakers from earning outside income and banning tax breaks for companies that move jobs overseas.

Toback, 56, a Long Beach attorney who served five terms in the Nassau County legislature and ran unsuccessfully for the Assembly seat in 2010, has run an outsider’s campaign, pushing issues favored by Republicans and opposed by many Democrats.

Toback supports legislation allowing prosecutors to charge drug dealers with a homicide if there is deadly overdose from narcotics they’ve sold. He backs term limits for state lawmakers, but opposes a ban on outside income, saying that would limit the diversity of the state legislature.

With Rick Brand, Robert Brodsky, Paul LaRocco, Sid Cassese and Yancey Roy

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