There is no hot presidential election this year, no congressional or state offices with big-stake outcomes up for grabs on Tuesday.
But the many local races on the ballot are incredibly important because they impact every Long Islander’s daily life and their future.
Both Nassau and Suffolk counties are grappling with troubling finances, the opioid epidemic and the failure of public servants to deliver honest government.
In Suffolk, a new district attorney will have to clean up an office sullied by Thomas Spota, accused of helping cover up former police Chief James Burke’s beating of a man who stole items from Burke’s SUV. A new Suffolk sheriff must demonstrate independence after that contest revealed the shenanigans of party bosses trying to rig races. Legislators in both counties must work across party lines to better serve residents.
Newsday’s 11-member editorial board, which operates independently of the paper’s newsgathering operation, interviewed nearly every candidate for countywide positions, county legislative seats and town supervisor offices — nearly 100 contenders in 52 races. We met with interest groups involved in three statewide referendums.
We recommend candidates based on their ideas, their accomplishments, their enthusiasm and who we believe will best represent the interests of Long Island and their communities. Political party ideology plays no role. Nor do the business interests and ownership of the Newsday Media Group influence our decisions.
This guide summarizes Suffolk County endorsements published over the past three weeks. Click here to read Nassau County endorsements.
Now we ask you to do your part. Vote.
Suffolk County District Attorney: Tim Sini, Democrat
Pledges to clean office undermined by abuse of power. Promises to be nonpolitical, require financial disclosures from deputies and bureau chiefs, set up outside panel to review old prosecutions, hire experienced help.
Suffolk County sherriff: Larry Zacarese, Republican
Outsider upended scheme by party bosses to rig election. Extensive law enforcement and emergency management experience. Has detailed knowledge of job and ideas for reform. Owes no one any favors.
Babylon supervisor: No endorsement
Incumbent Richard Schaffer wears too many hats as Democratic party leader. GOP challenger Dan Martin not up to job.
Brookhaven supervisor: Ed Romaine, Republican
Unified town board, stabilized finances. Environmentalist, started single-stream recycling. Has good development ideas.
East Hampton supervisor: Peter Van Scoyoc, Democrat
Veteran hand, understands town’s unique challenges. Has right stance on water quality, affordability issues and storm protection.
Huntington supervisor: Tracey Edwards, Democrat
Comprehensive knowledge of town with sensible ideas to keep it moving forward. Has smart approach to resolve LIPA tax case.
Riverhead supervisor: Laura Jens-Smith, Democrat
Wants to subdivide EPCAL and sell smaller portions to jump-start development. Focus on the revitalization of downtown Riverhead.
Southampton supervisor: Jay Schneiderman, Democrat
Clear vision for town’s future includes downtown development, housing near train stations and upgrading infrastructure.
Smithtown supervisor: Edward Wehrheim, Republican
Good fiscal, environmental steward. Supported workforce housing in Speonk and scooter LIRR service to Montauk.
State Supreme Court: Robert Lifson and Richard Hoffman
The editorial board makes selections in judicial races only when larger principles are in play. Send a message to political bosses about backroom cross-endorsement deals that deprive voters of real choices. Voters can chose a maximum of four of the 10 candidates running for State Supreme Court. Vote for just two, Robert Lifson and Richard Hoffmann, both running only on the Republican line, to upset the party bosses’ plans.
1st legislative district: Al Krupski, Democrat
Only farmer in legislature brings a valuable point of view. Strong on water quality and land preservation.
2nd legislative district: Bridget Fleming, Democrat
Emerged as strong environmental voice, worked on county’s septic replacement program.
3rd legislative district: Josh Slaughter, Democrat
Smart, energetic, savvy, deep knowledge of government will be asset in solving district problems.
4th legislative district: Tom Muratore, Republican
Respected lawmaker, fiscal nag, proponent of Arboretum housing development to revitalize Farmingville.
5th legislative district: Kara Hahn, Democrat
Created residents’ parks watch to help curb illegal dumping, supports more downtown development.
6th legislative district: Sarah Anker, Democrat
Tireless consensus builder, has sensible budget ideas and unparalleled knowledge of her district.
7th legislative district: Robert Calarco, Democrat
Pragmatic, wrote legislation to encourage affordable housing, ready to take bigger leadership role.
8th legislative district: Bill Lindsay, Democrat
Thoughtful, strongly supports more housing, higher density near transit hubs and sewers.
9th legislative district: Monica Martinez, Democrat
Delivers critical services in economically struggling district, working on anti-drug and anti-gang programs.
10th legislative district: Tom Cilmi, Republican
Fiscal watchdog’s demands include multiyear budgeting, a more open budget process and less borrowing.
11th legislative district: Joseph McDermott, Democrat
Good steward in Brightwaters, ironworker brings heart to discussion of unaffordability of life on Long Island.
12th legislative district: Leslie Kennedy, Republican
Works hard for constituents, active in fight for clean water, focused on creating high-tech jobs.
13th legislative district: Robert Trotta, Republican
Thorn in administration’s side, rails against budget deficits, high police pay and poorly placed red-light cameras.
14th legislative district: Kevin J. McCaffrey, Republican
GOP leader, on target with budget critiques, believes in bipartisanship, pushes rentals for young adults.
15th legislative district: DuWayne Gregory, Democrat
Presiding officer prefers collaboration; results include mobile app to connect drug users to treatment.
16th legislative district: Susan Berland, Democrat
Experienced town board member can step up to open seat. Has wide-ranging, smart approach to opioid epidemic.
17th legislative district: Thomas Donnelly, Democrat
Newcomer pushing for labor concessions to address budget woes, encourages working across party lines.
18th legislative district: Dr. William Spencer, Democrat
Voice as medical doctor important on health issues, sponsored law setting 5-cent fee on plastic bags.