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LI Democrats in the push to turn State Senate blue

Democratic candidate for the State Senate's 5th District,

Democratic candidate for the State Senate's 5th District, James Gaughran, is contending one of Long Island's most closely-watched races. Credit: James Escher

New York Democrats are hoping a Get Out the Vote push for midterm elections will help swing the State Senate blue.

But state Republicans, who have a 32-31 majority, are pouring money into Long Island races to protect incumbents in critical races.

The Senate is the only area of state government under GOP control. Three closely watched local races could provide a shift in the power balance: Sen. Carl Marcellino (R-Syosset) vs. the Suffolk County Water Authority chairman, James Gaughran, a Democrat, in the 5th District, in an echo of their 2016 matchup. Also, Sen. Elaine Phillips (R-Flower Hill) vs. Democratic North Hempstead Town Board member Anna Kaplan in the 7th District; and Sen. John Brooks (D-Seaford) vs. Massapequa Park Mayor Jeff Pravato, a Republican, in the 8th District.

 Those incumbents are getting more help from their party's campaign committees to hold onto their seats, according to campaign-finance statements issued by the state Board of Elections.

The Senate Republican Campaign Committee reported in early October it has funneled $461,000 to Phillips and $436,000 to Marcellino through direct-cash transfers and money spent on behalf of the candidates. The Democratic Senate Campaign Committee spent $536,000 to help protect Brooks.

In the 3rd District, Republican Sen. Thomas Croci is vacating the seat to rejoin the Navy. Without an incumbent locking down the race, Suffolk Legis. Monica R. Martinez (D-Brentwood) and Assemb. Dean Murray (R-East Patchogue) are vying to take Croci's place. The seat has trended Republican, though Democrat Brian X. Foley held it in 2009-10.

In the 4th District, former Suffolk Legis. Louis D’Amaro is taking on  incumbent GOP Sen. Philip M. Boyle.

Newcomer Kathleen Bradbury Cleary is challenging incumbent Senate Majority Leader John J. Flanagan in the 2nd District. And Gregory-John Fischer is going after incumbent Kenneth P. La Valle in the 1st District again, after an unsuccessful run in 2016.

One group has invested heavily in efforts to flip the Senate blue. The New York State United Teachers has spent about $1.4 million through “Fighting for Our Future,” an offshoot committee it founded. In turn, Senate Republicans have pointed out they have about $2 million more in the bank than Senate Democrats in their main fundraising committees.

1st District

Gregory-John Fischer (D)

Kenneth P. La Valle (R, C, I, Ref.)

2nd District

Kathleen Bradbury Cleary (D, WE)

John J. Flanagan (R, C, I, Ref.)

3rd District

Monica R. Martinez (D, WF, WE)

Dean Murray (R, C, I, Ref.)

4th District

Louis D’Amaro (D, WF, WE)

Philip M. Boyle (R, C, I, Ref.)

5th District

James F. Gaughran (D, WF, WE)

Carl L. Marcellino (R, C, I, Ref.)

6th District

Kevin M. Thomas (D, WF, WE)

Kemp Hannon (R, C, I, Ref.)

7th District

Anna M. Kaplan (D, WF, WE)

Elaine R. Phillips (R, C, I, Ref.)

8th District

John E. Brooks (D, WF, WE)

Jeffrey P. Pravato (R, C, I, Ref.)

9th District

Todd D. Kaminsky (D, WF, I, WE, Ref.)

Francis X. Becker Jr. (R, C)

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