ALBANY — In a blow to state and Suffolk County Democratic leaders, Republicans on Wednesday flipped the seat held by freshman Democratic Sen. Monica Martinez, of Brentwood, with a win by Islip's Alexis Weik in the 3rd Senate District, according to election officials counting absentee ballots.
Also decided Wednesday was the reelection of Assemb. Steven Englebright (D-Setauket). He has held the 4th Assembly District seat since 1992, but found himself trailing Setauket Republican Michael Ross on Nov. 3 after ballots cast early or on Election Day were counted.
"I’m very pleased and ready to go to work again," Englebright said in an interview.
In the Senate, state and county Democratic leaders had anticipated a blue wave of wins to build on their supermajority won in this year's election. A key to their success has been a group of Democrats known as the Long Island Six.
In 2018, four Democrats and two previously elected party members ended decades of Republican control of all nine of the Island's Senate seats.
Instead, Republicans gained a Senate seat on Long Island while holding two vacated by longtime GOP senators. Sen. Phil Boyle (R-Bay Shore) also won reelection, according to the unofficial results.
Democrats did hold five of the Long Island Six seats after races were called in recent days: Sens. James Gaughran of Northport, Kevin Thomas of Levittown, Todd Kaminsky of Long Beach, Anna Kaplan of Great Neck, and John Brooks of Massapequa.
"The results confirm Long Island’s status as a quintessential suburban swing community," said Lawrence Levy, executive dean of Hofstra University’s National Center for Suburban Studies. "The Long Island Six may have given way to the Long Island Five, but that’s still a majority out of the nine. It still leaves these lawmakers, along with their suburban counterparts north of New York City in a position to influence the budget and legislation."
Both parties flexed their muscles in the Senate, said Bruce Gyory, a Democratic strategist who studies election results.
"When you step back to assess the end result, the Long Island Six held the line, losing only one seat," Gyory said of the Democrats. He noted they withstood a multimillion dollar campaign accusing them of being soft on crime.
Martinez conceded Wednesday morning.
"I am certain I will see you soon but until then," Martinez said, "I’d like to wish Alexis Weik all the best in her new position."
In the 1st Senate District, Assembly Republican Anthony Palumbo, of New Suffolk, sealed a win Wednesday for the Senate seat long held by Kenneth LaValle, a fellow Republican who is retiring. Palumbo faced Democratic activist Laura Ahearn in a seat her party's leaders saw as vulnerable for Republicans.
"I will work hard every day to continue the legacy of retiring Senator Ken LaValle and build upon his strong record of protecting the environment, supporting our schools, and fighting for taxpayers," Palumbo said.
Election officials on Wednesday also confirmed that Republican Mario Mattera is projected to win the 2nd Senate District race against Democrat Michael Siderakis. The seat had been held for 18 years by Republican former Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan.