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Battling it out in Nassau, Queens

Nassau County Legislator Presiding Officer Rich Nicolello on

Nassau County Legislator Presiding Officer Rich Nicolello on April 22, 2019 in Mineola. Photo Credit: Howard Schnapp

Daily Point

We hate to say we told you so!

In a week of campaign kickoffs, Nassau County Republicans refused to be outdone by Democratic presidential candidates who will hold their first debates on Wednesday and Thursday.

Tuesday, dozens of Nassau GOP elected officials and likely candidates held a news conference to kickstart both the 2019 county legislative and town races as well as the 2020 rematch for control of the State Senate. It began with much bombast about the just-ended state legislative session’s “hard left turn” and the Long Island Democrats the GOP says let it happen.

Nassau Republican spokesman Mike Deery said the event evolved into a GOP family affair when rookie Assemb. Mike LiPetri mentioned to Rich Nicolello, the county legislature’s presiding officer, that LiPetri was planning to hold a news conference to lambaste laws state Democrats passed this session. Nicolello and the rest of the local GOPers were glad to join up and bash Democrat priorities, such as driver’s licenses for those here illegally, the elimination of cash bail for most crimes, a fee to drive into the Manhattan business district, and the loss of 25,000 jobs with the death of the Amazon deal in Queens. 

Almost none of this has much to do with town and county elections this fall, but it was mostly incumbents and challengers for those offices who showed up, along with several members of the Assembly. Oyster Bay Town Supervisor Joe Saladino, facing a potentially tough challenge from another well-known Republican, James Altadonna, running on the Democratic line, spoke out against the driver’s licenses for  immigrants here illegally. Don Clavin, looking to unseat Laura Gillen as Hempstead Town supervisor, went after the bungling of the Amazon deal and new taxes and fees on internet purchases and grocery bags. 

The attacks were mostly leveled against State Senate Democrats, and particularly the six Long Island members, who were charged with treason for turning their backs on suburban principles and falling in with those big-city Democrats and their liberal ways. 

But there were no Republican senators on hand, because Nassau no longer has any.  

- Lane Filler  @lanefiller

Talking Point

An unexpected ally

As you may have seen on TV, the rabid Queens DA primary has drawn all sorts of endorsers into the fray, including Rep. Kathleen Rice.

The Garden City Democrat cut a video for former prosecutor and state Supreme Court Justice Greg Lasak, which has aired on cable and NYC broadcast channels. 

Lasak’s campaign says the broadcast ads, a five-figure buy, bleed over onto Long Island and have run for the past week or two. The DA candidate also is using video of Rice in Facebook ads, and the congresswoman is one of his more prominent endorsers. 

The borough of Queens is outside Rice’s district -- unlike for Reps. Tom Suozzi and Gregory Meeks, who straddle the county line. Both of them went with the Democratic establishment choice, borough president Melinda Katz. But Rice’s spokesman, Michael Aciman, says Rice, who worked in the Brooklyn DA’s office and held the top job in Nassau County, and Lasak “knew each other from their days as prosecutors in neighboring counties.”

“She has a great deal of respect for his experience as a strong prosecutor and reformer,” Aciman wrote in an email. “They sat down earlier this year to talk about the race and his vision for Queens and she was happy to support his candidacy.”

Lasak is a more traditional and middle-of-the-road candidate than Katz or public defender Tiffany Cabán, and besides Rice he nabbed the endorsements of law enforcement unions and both city tabloids. But all bets are off this year as political observers wait to see whether a colleague of Rice’s, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who endorsed Cabán has created a wave strong enough to win a borough-wide election. 

- Mark Chiusano @mjchiusano

Pencil Point

On the border

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Final Point

High stakes

If you’re wondering whether Joe Biden is going to hug Kamala Harris, Kirsten Gillibrand or Marianne Williamson during their Democratic presidential debate on Thursday, we’ve got a proposition for you. Literally.

That’s right, you can bet on it.

At least one online sports gambling site is taking bets on the debates being held Wednesday and Thursday in Miami. And one of those wagers is on Biden’s proclivity for hands-iness.

BetOnline has plenty of other options, like how many times the words “impeach” and “Trump” are spoken, the number of times President Donald Trump tweets during the first debate, and which candidate’s name Trump tweets first during Wednesday’s showdown (Elizabeth Warren has the shortest odds by far).

BetOnline (we assume it’s not affiliated with Beto O’Rourke) has offered odds on topics like the next person to leave Trump’s cabinet (a volatile market) and also is handicapping the Democratic primary (at the moment, the most likely to emerge as the nominee is Biden, followed by Warren and Pete Buttigieg).

Our personal favorite: Whether any candidate makes an apology during the debates. The runaway betting leader as of this writing was “no.”

So politics does have something in common with love. Being in either means never having to say you’re sorry.

- Michael Dobie @mwdobie

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