The party label has changed, but the nonpartisan approach of incumbent Fred W. Thiele Jr. is much the same. As a Republican, he was a green moderate, working well with Democrats. Now he's crossing the aisle, running as one.
Thiele, 57, of Sag Harbor, overreacted by demanding the ouster of the university president when Stony Brook closed the dorms at its Southampton campus, but it did show how much passion he still has for issues he cares about. He is sound on environmental concerns, and worked hard to save the East End's public radio station.
His GOP opponent, Richard Blumenthal, 58, of Westhampton Beach, a retired guidance counselor, didn't like the way the country was going and started a website asking, "Should I Run?" He thought about Congress, but chose this race. His focus: simplifying high school diploma requirements, reducing the need for special education, cutting costs and property taxes.
Thiele's moderation and problem-solving skills are still needed in Albany. Newsday endorses Thiele.