I’m just a bill
Several key bills sponsored by the Long Island State Senate delegation made it to Gov. Kathy Hochul’s desk Wednesday and now await her signature or veto.
Among them: Sen. John Brooks’ effort to create a South Nassau water authority and Sen. Jim Gaughran’s bill that would create a North Shore water authority. Both bills come in response to the ongoing problems with New York American Water.
A bill sponsored by Sen. Kevin Thomas that addresses consumer credit fairness and strengthens consumer protections during the collections process also was delivered to Hochul on Wednesday.
The governor also called the Scott J. Beigel Unfinished Receiver Act, Sen. Anna Kaplan’s bill, which relates to the possession and sale of unfinished frames and receivers for guns. Kaplan’s bill, which would prohibit the selling or displaying of hate symbols by government entities, including fire and school districts, is also on the governor’s desk.
Also last week, Hochul called for a bill sponsored by Sen. Mario Mattera, which would increase the limit on highway expenses allowed for the town of Smithtown from $800,000 to $1.2 million.
Once a bill is delivered to the governor, she has 10 days to act.
But perhaps the most game-changing news for Long Island wasn’t with a bill introduced by one of its local senators.
On Wednesday, Hochul signed a bill introduced by Sen. James Skoufis, of Orange County, which would provide that any redistricting effort by a county outside of a city must be subject to federal and state law, and has to comply with specific standards, including the notion that districts must be contiguous and compact and "shall not be drawn to discourage competition or for the purpose of favoring or disfavoring incumbents or other particular candidates."
Kaplan, Gaughran, Brooks, Thomas and Sen. Todd Kaminsky all co-sponsored the legislation.
Counties could be open to legal action if they don’t comply.
— Randi F. Marshall @RandiMarshall
Past election numbers tell a complex tale
As Nassau County’s election scene began to heat up earlier this year, former Nassau District Attorney Madeline Singas’ appointment to the state’s Court of Appeals in June added a new race to the ballot, and a fresh flavor to next week’s contests.
It also, by returning the DA election to the same cycle as the other countywide races, restored an old point of comparison. The cycle had been thrown off when a special election was called for 2015 after former DA Kathleen Rice won election to Congress.
Throughout this cycle, poll numbers and seasoned observers have said Democratic County Executive Laura Curran is heavily favored to beat Republican Bruce Blakeman to keep her seat. But those same observers started out arguing that a Curran win by a significant margin would pull Democratic comptroller candidate Ryan Cronin, and to a lesser extent DA candidate Todd Kaminsky, into the winners’ circle, because most voters don’t split tickets.
But in the final weeks, the polls don’t bear it out. And neither, when The Point looked back, does history.
In 2017, Nassau’s countywide races ran in closely paralleled results, with the exception of the county clerk race, in which Maureen O’Connell generally enjoys strong bipartisan support regardless of the broader political environment. That year, Curran beat Jack Martins by 3 percentage points, Democrat Jack Schnirman beat Republican Steve Labriola out of the comptroller slot by 1.5 percentage points, and O’Connell won over Democrat Dean Bennett by 9 percentage points.
But in 2013, the last time the DA and executive races were contested together, the comparative results were chaotic.
In a rematch with Democratic former county executive and current House member Thomas Suozzi, Republican incumbent Edward Mangano won by a shocking 18 percentage points. But George Maragos, then the incumbent and (then) a Republican, beat Democrat Howard Weitzman, who served as comptroller during Suozzi’s 2001-2009 time as executive, by just 6 percentage points.
And incumbent Rice beat Republican Howard Sturim by 6 percentage points, outperforming Suozzi by 24 points.
That takes us to 2009, when Suozzi first lost to Mangano and Weitzman first lost to Maragos, with both falling by just a few hundred votes.
Even so, Rice won her DA race over Republican Joy Watson by 6 percentage points, far outpacing her ticket.
Then there’s 2005, when Suozzi, in a bid for a second term, crushed Republican Greg Peterson for county executive by 18 points, and Rice beat longtime Republican DA Dennis Dillon by 2 points. Suozzi’s coattails certainly helped Rice beat an entrenched incumbent, but the 16-point gap between their outcomes makes it clear that many Nassau voters are more willing to split tickets than conventional wisdom suggests.
Political operatives this year, and Democrats in particular, are decrying an election in which none of the indicators, taken together, paint a coherent picture. The past numbers show that this may actually be the norm.
— Lane Filler @lanefiller
Shooting for '24
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Bellone's fundraising dive
For the gubernatorial tea-leaf readers in the house, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone’s most recent campaign finance filings may have provided a little jolt.
For the period covering Sept. 27 to Oct. 18, as talk continued swirling about who would be in or out of a 2022 bid for the governor’s mansion, the West Babylon Democrat raised a total of $200. In the previous period, spanning from mid-July to September, he raised $20,887.35, approximately the amount just one big donor might toss off on his or her own.
Those two recently released filings come after a big July filing in which Bellone logged over $1 million in receipts and promoted his having recently started working with a veteran fundraiser who had worked for Hillary Clinton.
Was Bellone slowing down in the fall and beyond? Not so, says spokesman Jason Elan. The county executive has several fundraisers planned for after the Nov. 2 election, Elan told The Point on Tuesday.
Right now, Bellone’s "priority" is helping Democrats in Suffolk and around the state in their own upcoming elections, said Elan.
On that front, the most recent filing did show some big expenditures from Bellone’s war chest in October, including $10,000 to Nassau district attorney hopeful Todd Kaminsky, and $200,000 to the New York State Democratic Committee.
— Mark Chiusano @mjchiusano