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The 12th AD race heats up

Andrew Raia at his office on July 26,

Andrew Raia at his office on July 26, 2018. Credit: James Escher

Daily Point

An opening in the 12th AD

Republican Andy Raia will leave his 12th Assembly District seat when he takes over as Huntington town clerk next year, having been elected to the post his mother, Jo-Ann Raia, will vacate. That means a seat is open, a special election is possible and the race to replace Raia is heating up, at least among Democrats, where many names have been floated. 

Among Republicans, it’s quiet.

If Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo schedules a special election, the vote will likely be in April, and there won’t be primaries. Party committees would choose their standard-bearers. For Democrats, Suffolk Chairman Rich Schaffer said that he’s had as many as six people reach out, but that the top two names are familiar ones. 

“I’d say, Michael Marcantonio and Avrum Rosen would be the strongest candidates right now, with the best relationships with the committee and the strongest ability to raise money,” Schaffer told The Point Monday. He also said he’d mostly stay out of picking a candidate for this seat, where the district is about one-third Babylon, and two-thirds Huntington, with 10 election districts in Islip.

Rosen, of Centerport, is an attorney who ran against Raia in 2018 after Marcantonio was forced out of the race because of a residency rift that included his voting in North Carolina in 2014 while in law school.

In a phone interview Monday, Rosen said he’s definitely running, although he likely would not have if a recently created ban on outside income for legislators, later kiboshed by the courts, had gone into effect. 

“I’m running because there are a couple of things that need to happen in this state, including addressing environmental issues, but also health care and taxation, where I think I can really bring a lot to the table,” Rosen said.

Marcantonio, an attorney who lives on Eaton’s Neck and works in Manhattan, told The Point: “I’m definitely running, I’m going to be the designee and I’m going to win.” He says he will bring his aggressive stance against the Long Island Power Authority’s attempt to slash the taxes it pays on the Northport Power Plant to the chamber. “It’s a problem that was created in Albany,” Marcantonio said of LIPA, “and the solution has to come from Albany.”

Marcantonio also said he’d focus on lowering property taxes by looking at other ways to raise revenue, push to address water-quality issues like 1,4-dioxane and fight for better regulation of volatile organic compounds in schools. 

Both men also say they’d run in November 2020 whether a special election happens or not. 

Cuomo must set a special election to fill the House of Representatives seat vacated by Chris Collins, and has said the best date for that is likely April 28, the day of the Democratic presidential primary. There is also an upstate State Senate seat to be vacated by Republican Bob Antonacci, who was just elected to a judgeship, and the 12th Assembly contest could go then as well.

But the newly sped-up political calendar means whoever wants to run for those seats in November 2020 will have to circulate nominating petitions for that race two months before a special is decided.So far, Cuomo has not committed to scheduling those April state contests, though he has indicated he likely will.

—Lane Filler @lanefiller

Talking Point

We hardly knew ye

Overshadowed slightly by the end-of-Thanksgiving tryptophan haze, the Democratic 2020 field has reshuffled again, as longshots Steve Bullock and Joe Sestak ended their White House bids. 

Bullock, the term-limited governor of Montana, focused on the dangers of money in politics and had a brief moment in the spotlight as one of the moderate candidates in his July debate. There, he underscored his lack of support for Medicare for All and worked his way through a strange exchange about nuclear weapons with Sen. Elizabeth Warren. 

Since then, he had been running folksy ads about his ability to win elections in a red state, proclaiming his ability to “Give Trump The Boot” (the governor is known for his cowboy footwear) and offering ski caps for sale that say “Trump Skis in Jeans.” 

They didn’t help him heat up. 

Sestak, a retired admiral and former Pennsylvania congressman, had an even harder time despite his also-impressive resume. One of his unsuccessful gambits for attention included walking across New Hampshire. 

The two vanquished hopefuls join other unsuccessful candidates like Republican Mark Sanford, the former governor of South Carolina whose bid lasted just a few weeks, and Florida’s Wayne Messam, who was boxed out of the Democratic mayor lane by small- and large-town hizzoners.

Other candidates registering minimal support, such as former Rep. John Delaney and writer Marianne Williamson, are still giving it a shot, even as former Gov. Deval Patrick of Massachusetts and former Mayor Michael Bloomberg enter late. Meaning Democrats are picking between a bountiful 16.

—Mark Chiusano @mjchiusano

Pencil Point

Dems' answer to MAGA

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Quick Points

  • Polling in Britain shows deeply unpopular Prime Minister Boris Johnson is on track to win a bigger majority in Parliament in this month’s elections as the fractured left loses seats in working-class areas and struggles in campaigns for seats it should win. Are U.S. Democrats paying attention?
  • A law that allowed police in Sudan to arrest women for dancing or wearing pants and included punishments like flogging and stoning has been repealed by the country’s transitional government, which apparently is transitioning into the 19th century.
  • Bystanders on London Bridge used a fire extinguisher and a 5-foot narwhal tusk to subdue a knife-wielding Islamic terrorist Friday who stabbed two people to death. Is that a new public service ad — if you see something, do something — in the making?
  • Struggling 2020 presidential candidate Sen. Cory Booker sent a message to voters Sunday when he said that “if you want me in this race, then I need help.” Cory, the reason you’re struggling is that not enough people want you in the race.
  • South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg told a North Carolina church that he wrongly assumed that schools in his county were largely integrated and that it took years of working for him to realize that desegregation was confined mostly to a single school district — South Bend’s. His honesty probably will be appreciated, his failure to grasp reality probably not.

—Michael Dobie @mwdobie