TODAY'S PAPER
Good Afternoon
Good Afternoon
Opinion

For NY Dems, a leading question

Democratic Party chairman Jay Jacobs, whose term runs

Democratic Party chairman Jay Jacobs, whose term runs until September 2022, will at least stay on for the governor's transition, insiders say. Credit: Howard Schnapp

Daily Point

Will Jacobs continue as Dems’ state chair?

Jay Jacobs first chaired the New York State Democratic Committee starting in 2009 during David Paterson’s short tenure as governor. He stayed under Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo until May 2012. In 2019, during Cuomo’s third term, Jacobs returned for a second tour.

So will Jacobs, who has also been Nassau County chairman for 20 years, stick around under Gov. Kathy Hochul? Nobody seems to know yet.

Jacobs and Hochul have a smooth and cordial relationship, sources say. But New York governors become de facto leaders of their state parties and so get to pick the chairs and directors.

Democratic insiders seem to expect that Jacobs, whose term runs until September 2022 as voted by the state committee, will at least stay on for the governor’s transition.

For one thing, government appointments and decisions are Hochul’s immediate concern. For another, there is a relatively short run-up to campaign season.

The state committee is expected to meet next month, and is set to hold its convention in February with primaries in June. Party designations, by which the state committee determines which candidates can run without the burden of canvassing for petitions, are voted on at the convention.That process could become more of a thicket if a rookie team suddenly took charge.

Besides, nobody has emerged, at least not yet, with a bid to replace Jacobs.

Upon succeeding Cuomo, Hochul announced her candidacy for the election a year from November. But she could face a primary challenge from any number of insurgent candidates. One name widely mentioned is Attorney General Tish James. Another is Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-Glen Cove), who could position himself to stand out as a self-styled centrist if the field is crowded by self-styled progressives, though Hochul is no lefty, either. Jacobs has been a key Suozzi ally going back before the congressman’s first successful bid for county executive two decades ago.

Organizationally, life may be simpler for Hochul, and perhaps other players, if she makes no moves at least before Jacobs completes his term. But it remains a governor’s prerogative.

— Dan Janison @Danjanison

Talking Point

A campaign push from Nassau Dems

With county races approaching in November, Nassau Democrats are touting a "coordinated campaign" to boost their candidates, from County Executive Laura Curran on down the ballot.

"Across parties, off-year elections can present an obstacle for voter mobilization," county and state party chairman Jay Jacobs told The Point. "That’s why the Nassau Democratic Coordinated Campaign is not taking a single vote for granted in 2021."

The effort includes four field offices; early voter contact, which began in June; mailers about Curran; digital outreach; and so-called "authentic" ways to reach residents through initiatives like "women to women" phone banking. There are also some very up-to-date pieces of the push, according to a spokeswoman for the coordinated campaign. Canvassers are instructing voters to request ballots in real time at the doors by scanning QR codes, and then following up with a "ballot chase." More voters have requested their ballots for this election than in any off-year, local election in Nassau dating back to at least 1999, according to stats from the county board of elections — a cause that Nassau Democrats are celebrating even if COVID-19 may be playing some role as well.

Mike Deery, a spokesman for the Nassau GOP, said his party is pursuing a "comprehensive plan" on voter registration, absentee ballots, and voting options. He declined to go into further detail, which would reveal strategy.

The big question is whether and how these initiatives gain traction. Nassau Democrats have certainly stumbled in past off-year elections, as in 2019 when they lost their foothold in the Hempstead Town supervisor race. This coordinated campaign is meant to advocate for all Democrats on the ballot, including district attorney candidate Todd Kaminsky and comptroller hopeful Ryan Cronin, plus legislative candidates, but different candidates have different needs and need different levels of support. Curran, at the top of the ticket, appears set to benefit from initiatives like these, and also whatever her $2 million-plus in campaign funds (as of July disclosures) will buy her.

— Mark Chiusano @mjchiusano

Pencil Point

A no-brainer

For more cartoons, visit www.newsday.com/nationalcartoons

Counting Point

By the numbers

The Point debuts an occasional feature of stats and figures we think our subscribers will find interesting.

535: New positive COVID-19 test results on Wednesday for Suffolk, the most for any county outside of NYC, according to state figures. (Suffolk is among the state’s largest counties.)

63% and 54%: The diversity index for Nassau and Suffolk counties from the 2020 census, an estimate of the probability that two people chosen at random would be from different racial or ethnic groups. Both percentages increased since 2010.

$6.4 million: Total pledged amount for a terraplanter, the most successful Kickstarter project on Long Island. What’s a terraplanter? "A new home for plants" and "an optimal solution for plants to thrive indoors."

$2.3 trillion: Price tag of conflict in the Afghanistan/Pakistan war zone, part of the larger post-9/11 war toll calculated by Brown University’s Costs of War Project.

8 to 26: The range of years that four elections commissioners in New York City have served, according to a new Brennan Center for Justice report, "How to Fix the New York City Board of Elections."

— Mark Chiusano @mjchiusano

Did you miss an issue of The Point? Browse past newsletters here.

Columns