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Zeldin defeats Foley, Johnson and Martins in tight race

Lee Zeldin celebrates his victory in the race

Lee Zeldin celebrates his victory in the race for State Senate, Tuesday night. (Nov. 2, 2010) Credit: Newsday / John Paraskevas

As Republicans battled to regain control of the State Senate, Brian Foley of Blue Point lost to Republican Lee Zeldin, while incumbent Craig Johnson of Port Washington was locked in a close battle with Mineola Mayor Jack Martins.

"Long Island deserves a seat at the table and they got it tonight," Zeldin, an Iraq war veteran said at the county Republican celebration in the Smithtown Sheraton. "The people of Islip and Brookhaven have spoken and we now have a representative again."

In a concession speech just after 1 a.m., Foley said Democrats had "much to be proud of" because they passed legislation on "a whole host of issues important to everyday people."

Foley, who defeated longtime Republican incumbent Caesar Trunzo to win his 3rd District seat in 2008, added, "In any campaign you always like to win. But we can also learn in defeat as well."

Johnson faced Martins, Mineola's mayor since 2003. Johnson, a former Nassau legislator, became the first Democrat on Long Island to hold a State Senate seat in two decades when he won a special election in 2007 for his 7th District seat.

Republicans lost control of the State Senate two years ago, putting Democrats in charge with a slim 32-29 majority. Republicans believed their best chance of regaining control was to run strong races against Foley and Johnson, as well as for two upstate Democratic seats. Both Zeldin and Martins campaigned against their Democratic opponents for voting in favor of the controversial MTA payroll tax.

In other Long Island State Senate races:

District 1: Veteran Republican Kenneth LaValle of Port Jefferson defeated Democrat Jennifer Maertz, a lawyer from Rocky Point and vice chairwoman of the Brookhaven Democratic Committee.

District 2: Republican incumbent John Flanagan of East Northport won over Democrat Ira Bernstein, a former Commack teacher and semiretired financial planner from Selden.

District 4: Incumbent Republican Owen Johnson of West Babylon defeated Democrat Maeghan Lollo, an attorney from West Babylon.

District 5: Longtime Republican incumbent Carl Marcellino of Syosset beat Democrat Lawrence Silverman of Huntington, who built his reputation as chairman of a Long Island Rail Road watchdog group.

District 6: Veteran Republican lawmaker Kemp Hannon of Garden City defeated political newcomer Francesca Carlow, co-owner of a Plainview hardware store.

District 8: Republican incumbent Charles Fuschillo Jr. of Merrick defeated Democrat Carol Gordon, a retired Department of Veterans Affairs manager from Massapequa.

District 9: Senate Minority Leader Dean Skelos of Rockville Centre, who served six months as majority leader of the State Senate before Republicans lost control, beat Democrat George Sava, an attorney and former U.S. Army reservist from Woodmere.

With Rick Brand and Denise Bonilla.

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