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Who we're endorsing: For New York State Senate

In the New York State Senate, the Long Island Nine Republican bloc of years past are now the Long Island Six, a Democratic caucus.

For years, Republicans protected Long Island and other suburbs from the worst tax-and-spend instincts of city Democrats who dominate the Assembly. But the GOP caucus also blocked lots of needed legislation like voting reforms, the Dream Act, climate change legislation, and an increase in the minimum wage.

We were cautiously optimistic when Democrats took control of the State Senate in 2018. But the record has been mixed.

The Long Island Six is on notice. We expect more. Time to deliver.

Due to the pandemic, this year’s endorsement process looks a bit different since Senate candidates did not come to our office for in-person meetings. Instead, the board interviewed candidates remotely using Zoom and the telephone, and we invited our followers on our social platforms to look in as we did.

Enter your address here to see our choices to date for candidates running in your district.

The races

State Senate, District 1 (East End, much of the Town of Brookhaven): Democrat Laura Ahearn vs. Republican Anthony Palumbo (open seat)

State Senate, District 2 (Smithtown, parts of Huntington and northwest Brookhaven): Democrat Mike Siderakis vs. Republican Mario Mattera (open seat)

State Senate, District 3 (Parts of Islip and southwest Brookhaven Town): Democrat Monica Martinez (incumbent) vs. Republican Alexis Weik

State Senate, District 4 (Eastern Babylon and most of Islip): Democrat Christine Pellegrino vs. Republican Phil Boyle (incumbent)

Don't see your district here? The rest of the State Senate endorsements will arrive in your inbox Wednesday night and will appear in print later this week.

Our picks

State Senate, District 1

Kenneth LaValle, a Republican whose tireless work on environmental and educational issues earned him 22 consecutive victories, retires this year as the senator for District 1.

The two candidates running to replace him, Laura Ahearn and Anthony Palumbo, are both qualified to represent the district. But one stands out because of her potential to become a major influencer in Albany. Newsday endorses Ahearn and here's why.

State Senate, District 2

In the race to replace former Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan, at one time the most powerful Republican in New York, neither candidate has held elected office before. But between Mike Siderakis and Mario Mattera, one thoroughly understands the issues and would be ready from the start to capably represent the district.

Newsday endorses Siderakis. Here's why.

State Senate, District 3

Monica Martinez has been a strong advocate for her district. She brings a fresh perspective and understands her ever-changing constituency. Opponent Alexis Weik lacks a basic understanding of school district funding and any original ideas on how to close the state's budget gap.

Newsday endorses Martinez. But she should rethink one of her positions in light of the coronavirus pandemic and here's why.

State Senate, District 4

We wish this was a more inspiring race, but it's not. Three years ago, we criticized Phil Boyle for taking part in an odious deal between Democratic and Conservative party bosses that involved the cross-endorsement of judges and an attempt to clear the way for Boyle, who has no law enforcement experience, to become Suffolk County sheriff.

Opposing him is Christine Pellegrino who lacks knowledge about key issues.

Newsday endorses Boyle. Here's how he earned it this time around.

Election reads and resources

Follow @NewsdayOpinion on Twitter and on Instagram to see the candidates during their endorsement interviews. Stay tuned for our next special edition newsletter on the rest of our New York State Senate endorsements.