A Senate spark that could catch fire
Signaling a high-stakes local battle bound to draw statewide attention, former State Sen. Jack Martins, a Mineola Republican, is now mulling a comeback for his old 7th SD seat — held since 2019 by Democrat Anna Kaplan of Great Neck, insiders told The Point.
Both are viewed as serious figures in their parties. Martins, who recently played a high-profile, combative role on the state’s first Independent Redistricting Commission, left the Senate post in 2016. He first won for Senate six years earlier in a razor-close contest, unseating Sen. Craig Johnson, helping return control of the chamber to the GOP.
Apparently encouraged by last November’s GOP victories across Nassau and Suffolk counties, Martins would be running as part of a Republican push to reclaim suburban seats including the 9th SD now held by Todd Kaminsky (D-Long Beach), who isn’t seeking reelection.
The wider context may be a battle for the suburbs that overlaps with and peaks interest in the statewide contests for governor, comptroller, and attorney general.
Crime penalties set in Albany are already a visceral issue pushed by Republicans in those races, and the 7th SD would be no exception, with its North Hempstead communities having trended red in November, especially Great Neck, considered a Kaplan base.
In 2016, Martins ran for Congress, where he won 152,304 votes to Tom Suozzi’s 171,775, a 53% to 47% result. In 2017, he ran for county executive against Laura Curran who won with 147,102 votes to Martins’ 139,204, a 51-48 percentage split.
One of the hottest controversies around that race erupted when an overheated Martins mailer warned that Curran as executive would "roll out the welcome mat for violent gangs like MS-13!" That mode of rhetoric is already echoing in this year’s state contests, where the GOP targets anti-incarceration changes collectively known as "bail reform" that Kaplan voted for as part of the party majority.
For all legislative seats this fall, as with the statewide elections, New York Republicans who convened in Garden City this week have nowhere to go but up. The party would hail it as progress if it can simply pierce the empowering two-thirds "supermajority" that Democrats enjoy for the first time in memory.
The current Senate split is a lopsided 43-20 — with Democrats dominating the Assembly, 106-43.
Allies of Kaplan say that while facing local political headwinds favoring the GOP, she will work the district and emphasize her constituent services regardless of who challenges her. Martins, a former Mineola mayor, has not yet announced a decision whether to run but is expected by sources to make his plans known in the coming days.
As a reference point for repeatedly defeated candidates staging a comeback in Nassau County, consider the fact that Republican Bruce Blakeman defeated Curran to become county executive. Such things are always possible, depending on which way those partisan winds are blowing.
— Dan Janison @Danjanison
Democratic donors asked to stand down
It’s not often that a Democratic Party boss sends out an email to his fundraising contacts asking that they not donate to Democratic candidates.
On Friday, state party chairman Jay Jacobs did exactly that in the CD4 scrum for the Democratic nomination in the race to succeed Kathleen Rice, who is retiring. Rice’s quick response, hammering Jacobs on Twitter, revealed how bitter these primary battles can become.
In an email blast Friday to those he greeted as "Friends," Jacobs wrote that several of the possible candidates are his friends, and asked that they "HOLD OFF on making ANY contributions to ANY of the candidates until we have had an opportunity to discuss the complexities of the race."
Jacobs wrote that his goal is to keep the seat Democratic, and that he feels not all the interested candidates can win. He encouraged donors "to reach out to me, and I will gladly provide my advice, whatever you think it is worth" as to whom they ought to support and why.
Rice, retweeting journalist Zack Fink’s post about Jacobs’ letter, wrote, "No wonder Democrats in Nassau county lose with this kind of leadership."
According to multiple sources, Laura Gillen, who served two years as Hempstead Town supervisor, had already agreed to run in State Senate District 9, where Todd Kaminsky is not seeking reelection. But once Rice stood down, Gillen’s aspirations bumped up, to the Beltway and a full commitment to a House run, a lifelong dream for the career litigator.
Nassau County legislators Siela Bynoe and Carrié Solages also said they would like to make a run for the seat.
And Malverne Mayor Keith Corbett, 42, whom Jacobs isn’t shy about touting, is expected to make his candidacy official next week.
In an interview with The Point, Jacobs described Corbett as a Democrat who has done well in a Republican district and is respected for legal work that includes a specialty in election law. In that role, Corbett has often aided other party players, Jacobs pointed out, and built a lot of relationships.
The email was sent largely to donors close to the state and county Democratic chair, whom Gillen used extensively in her 2017 upset win and then in her losing run two years later.
Now, those donors are being warned off … and so is Gillen.
— Lane Filler @lanefiller
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In the news
Welcome to this week’s news quiz, based on events that took place this week. As usual, provide the answer for each clue, one letter per blank. The first letter of each answer, taken in order, spells the name of the New York politician who tweeted this about former Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s new TV commercial that attempts to rehabilitate his image after sexual harassment allegations forced him to resign: "This is desperately deranged. New Yorkers don’t want an apology tour from a corrupt criminal. Andrew Cuomo should be behind bars, not on our TV screens."
A link to the answers appears below.
_ _ _ The Supreme Court heard arguments in a case dealing with this federal agency’s authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions.
_ _ _ _ _ _ The Green Bay Packers, New Orleans Saints and Jacksonville Jaguars will be the home teams for three NFL games to be played in this major world city.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ Unfortunate characteristic of the current U.S. economy about which President Joe Biden said in his State of the Union address: "I get it."
_ _ _ _ _ Global oil and gas giant that is pulling out of its joint ventures and stakes in Russian companies and projects over the war in Ukraine.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ Convicted former Long Island politician who "has lost virtually everything," according to a court filing by his lawyer.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ Forum in which President Biden said the U.S. would come after Russian oligarchs’ "ill-begotten gains" like yachts and private jets.
_ _ _ _ _ _ National retailer that will increase pay for some of its jobs to as much as $24 an hour.
_ _ _ _ _ Number of state attorneys general who will investigate whether TikTok designs and promotes its platform in a way that harms the physical and mental health of teens and kids.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ The LGBT Network announced that its annual Long Island Pride Parade will take place in June in this Nassau County village.
_ _ _ _ _ _ A cargo ship carrying 4,000 luxury cars like Porsches and Bentleys caught fire and sank in the Atlantic Ocean off this chain of islands.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ City which saw the return after a two-year hiatus of Carnival parades and customs such as the morning wake-up in the Tremé neighborhood by the skeletons of the North Side Skull & Bone Gang.
_ _ _ _ The state with the largest number of egg-laying hens, and where bird flu was detected in a backyard flock of ducks and chickens.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ Ukraine’s second-largest city, where many residential areas were shelled by Russian forces, killing dozens of civilians.
Click here for answers to the clues and to the identity of the mystery politician.
— Michael Dobie @mwdobie