The unusual three-way race in this district stems from unusual circumstances — a deal between Democratic and Conservative party bosses to endorse the same candidate in several districts, despite the parties' wide ideological differences.
Joan Manahan, a charter member of the state Conservative Party, objected and valiantly won her own party's primary against Democrat Joseph McDermott. Both are running against first-term GOP incumbent Steve Flotteron, who had the Conservative line in 2017, when he also faced McDermott. All three are from Brightwaters.
Each worries about the county budget. Flotteron, 57, wants to reduce bonding and wring more concessions from union contracts, and says the legislature should receive monthly spending reports so it can better fulfill its checks-and-balances responsibilities on the executive branch. McDermott, 52, an ironworker and former Brightwaters mayor, largely agrees with Flotteron. Manahan, 88, a 33-year former Grumman employee and current travel consultant, favors a 1 percent across-the-board budget cut.
All three support residents voting on a referendum to set a water fee to raise money to help homeowners switch to high-tech septic systems that reduce nitrogen, and each opposes the county's red-light camera program as currently constituted. And all three back affordable housing as necessary for both young people and seniors, but prefer condos or co-ops to rental apartments.
Flotteron also wants to focus on gang violence and the opioid epidemic. McDermott says educating kids is essential to prevent them from being recruited by MS-13. And Manahan wants to eliminate a county program that helps immigrants here illegally find health, nutrition, housing, education and legal support.
Manahan is a pure Conservative, but her vision is too limited. McDermott should not have participated in the cross-endorsement deal. Flotteron shows promise as a lawmaker and deserves another term.
Newsday endorses Flotteron.