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Andrew Raia has a new challenger

Huntington Town Hall on Feb. 13, 2018.

Huntington Town Hall on Feb. 13, 2018. Credit: Raychel Brightman

Daily Point

Stepping up to the plate

If you’ve driven around the Town of Huntington and seen the “Elect Maryann Maltese NYS Assembly 12AD” signs, you might be wondering what election cycle was taking place. 

Maltese is a 49-year-old living in the Commack school district, currently working as a real estate agent and substitute teacher, who previously worked as a chief of staff to several state legislators and as a regional director for the State Assembly. She’s a Democrat who says she will also seek the nominations of the Working Families and Independence parties. She’s owned a home in Huntington since 2001, though she spent 18 months in Florida a few years ago.

And she’s running in the next election for the seat held by Republican Andrew Raia, whenever that may be.

Raia has an election in November against Democrat Simon Saks to succeed his mother, Huntington Town clerk Jo-Ann Raia, who announced she’d retire at the end of 2019 after 38 years in the office. If the popular Andrew Raia, to whom colleagues have already said heartfelt goodbyes, goes on to win, he says he’ll resign his Assembly seat on Dec. 31.

What happens then is not entirely clear. Traditionally, the governor would call for a special election, and that may well be what happens. But the new, recently adopted June primary date for the 2020 election, three months earlier than in the past, means candidates will likely start circulating petitions for the 2020 race before a 2019 special election could be held.  

Either way, Maltese says she’s a candidate in the next election for the 12th District seat. If she’s not on the ballot for a  special election, in which party committees have the only say in picking candidates, she says she’ll run in November 2020.

“I’m running to bring goodness and decency back to the district,” Maltese said in a phone interview. “We have not received the goods and services in the 12th District that we deserve, and I’m looking to bring the type of leadership back to the district that can address that.”

In an interview with The Point, Maltese said she believes Raia’s seat is already vacant and a special election should have been called because Raia resigned on the Assembly floor when he said goodbye at the end of the session this summer. 

Raia, though, says he’s still got the job covered.

“It’s nice to know Maryann is so confident that I’m going to win my election in November for town clerk that she’s already campaigning for a vacancy that does not exist. As for me, I never count my chickens until they hatch.”

—Lane Filler @lanefiller

Talking Point

Staying neutral

It’s getting hot out there for the few congressional Democrats who do not support an impeachment inquiry. Take the case of Arizona Rep. Tom O’Halleran, a leader of the moderate Blue Dog Coalition, who was branded #timidtom on social media and blasted by a primary challenger for staying relatively quiet on the House action against President Donald Trump. Eventually, he put out a statement affirming his support. 

New York’s own Rep. Max Rose, however, has continued walking the tightrope, talking transit and parks more than high crimes and misdemeanors. There hasn’t been a #modestmax movement yet, but some activists in his district are certainly frustrated. 

“He’s alienated everybody,” says Fight Back Bay Ridge co-founder Mallory McMahon, adding that his office’s messaging “has tried so desperately to straddle the fence that he has fallen and impaled himself on that fence.” 

Since the revelation of Trump’s call asking for a “favor” of the Ukrainian president regarding an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Rose has noted concern but also some caution. 

“Under no circumstances will I allow politics to influence my decision regarding this matter,” he said in one statement. 

Fellow New Yorker Rep. Anthony Brindisi, who overturned an upstate GOP incumbent by a hair in 2018, has tried to walk a similar line, but Rose has indeed managed to alienate at higher levels. The first-term representative drew a weekend missive from Trump, who retweeted an attack ad against Rose and suggested that even being associated with impeachment-supporting Democrats would backfire. 

Rose is expected to hold town halls in his district Wednesday and Friday, at which activists like McMahon are sure to try to push the issue on impeachment. It’s a fast-moving issue and Rose has been uncomfortably in the middle: his district includes Staten Island, New York City’s only county to go for Trump in 2016, also home to many moderate Democrats who may not be thrilled with impeachment, either. But sentiment on impeachment appears to be changing quickly and activists in the Brooklyn section of the district and some parts of the island may not stomach equivocation for long. 

McMahon, for example, thought Rose might have joined other national security veterans like those who wrote an early Washington Post op-ed supporting an impeachment inquiry. 

"We're hoping he will come back to the district and change his mind," she said.

—Mark Chiusano @mjchiusano

Pencil Point

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