Good afternoon. Today’s points:
- Suffolk GOP chair front and center with Trump
- Our cartoonist had three crystal balls
- Inside election night HQs in NYC, Nassau
Right hand man
The Suffolk County Republican Party chairman who’s been a media surrogate for Donald Trump and delivered the highest margin of votes in the state to the president-elect was front and center at the New York Hilton in the early morning hours Wednesday.
“John, we did it,” Trump said to John Jay LaValle when he walked off the stage to greet supporters in the VIP section.
LaValle recalls that Trump also shot back that he “didn’t win New York,” one of the tasks the Republican candidate had assigned to LaValle in the spring.
LaValle, who was with Rep. Peter King in the front row, said Trump thanked him for his work, and told him to “get back on CNN.”
So what does going all in early for Trump earn LaValle? He’s not saying, but it sure looks like there will be some reward in the near future.
Inside Clinton’s election night HQ
Long before the mood became grim at Hillary Clinton’s election night headquarters at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, thousands of people poured into the glass-covered building. Thousands more were relegated to the overflow area — a barricaded 11th Avenue, where they stood for hours — the luckiest hovering around a stage featuring a large American flag backdrop.
Those outside complained; they had hoped to be inside. But Mayor Bill de Blasio showed up to speak to the outdoors crowd. He was followed by City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Sens. Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo. Katy Perry, Khizr Khan and the Mothers of the Movement — women whose African-American children died because of gun violence — joined the lineup, too.
De Blasio got the best slot because he was first up at about 8:30, when the crowd was still excited and hopeful. By the time Schumer tried his “I believe that we will win” chant, everyone was far more subdued. And when Cuomo took the stage at about 10:30 p.m., the thousands of people standing in the street were all but silent.
Inside the center, a news conference area was all set up, apparently for politicos to hold court with the media. For most of the night, it stood empty — eventually luring only photographers, who took pictures of the empty podium. Throughout, the event was slightly disjointed, as if someone hadn’t finished planning all of the details. And then, all too quickly, there was nothing more to say — no more updates from staff, no more speeches or press scrums. Clinton staffers began to leave, and soon enough, the politicians and celebrities were gone, too.
But the people stayed — both inside and outside, even as the air grew colder. It wasn’t until Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta showed up and told them to go home that people began to filter out and onto 34th Street.
On the trek toward the subways and Penn Station, a man stood on the street corner holding a sign.
“Free Hugs,” it said.
Many accepted the offer.
Randi F. Marshall
Sketching all the odds
Cartooning live on a presidential election night is a tricky business. With three scenarios and no crystal ball, my survival mechanism is to draw sketches for multiple outcomes — and hope one becomes clear by deadline. At 11 p.m. Tuesday, we ran with the undecided cartoon in Newsday’s first print edition; 12:30 p.m. saw a replate edition, and we used the cartoon of Lincoln falling out of his chair. The third one? This is the first time anyone is seeing it.
Case in Point
Eyes on the stage
The bad news kept coming for Nassau County Democrats in Westbury on Tuesday night as they watched county after county in state after state turn red on the big-screen TV. Then, just before midnight, some good news: State Sen. Todd Kaminsky had won re-election and stepped to the podium to give his victory speech.
But it was a lot less good news than the Democrats had hoped for in their effort to pick up seats and capture the majority in the 63-seat State Senate. Nassau County and the Hudson Valley were two key battlegrounds. However, Republican incumbents Carl Marcellino, Kemp Hannon, William Larkin Jr. and Susan Serino all held off strong challenges. And Elaine Phillips, the Flower Hill mayor making her first run for state office, kept the seat vacated by Jack Martins in the GOP fold.
That leaves Republicans with a caucus of 31, with one race outstanding: the 8th Senate District centered in Massapequa, where Republican incumbent Michael Venditto trails Democratic nominee John Brooks, a fellow Republican, by just 33 votes. The election hangs on the absentee ballot count, and Republicans in this part of Long Island traditionally have the stronger ground game.
Democrats got behind Brooks late — after Venditto’s father, John, was charged with corruption on Oct. 20 — so it’s unlikely Democrats made an early push here for absentee voters.
If the younger Venditto prevails, he will give the GOP an outright 32-seat majority.