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A 'monster' mailer

Jackie Gordon at Babylon Town Hall on Aug.

Jackie Gordon at Babylon Town Hall on Aug. 7, 2019. Credit: James Escher

Daily Point

Look closely at this Town of Hempstead mailer

“Fight the MONSTER UTILITY POLES in Garden City,” screams a mailer sent by Hempstead Town Supervisor Don Clavin and Hempstead Councilman Thomas Muscarella.

Addressed to “Garden City neighbor,” the mailer calls the placement of utility poles on the south side of the Long Island Rail Road tracks a “sneaky switcheroo during the COVID-19 pandemic,” and says that Clavin and Muscarella are “demanding” that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority move the poles and that the height of the poles be reduced. 

The mailer includes a tear-off postcard – to be sent back to the town – where those signing say they support Clavin and Muscarella “in objecting to the MTA’s and LIRR’s ‘secret’ changes in the Third Track project.”

But there’s a problem that might indicate rushed political maneuvering involved in the mailing. 

Find out here.

—Randi F. Marshall @RandiMarshall

Talking Point

A primary for the records

It looks like many Long Island congressional primary voters were unusually excited to cast a ballot last month.

Unofficial but close-to-final results show more than 2.2 times as many votes were cast in the competitive CD1 Democratic primary as in the similarly competitive primary in 2018. CD1 has had a string of competitive primaries on the GOP or Democratic side in recent years, but no primary since 2012 has come close to this year’s sum.

In CD2, which had a competitive Democratic primary in 2018 but less of a nailbiter this year, there were still more than 2.7 times as many votes cast this time around as voters sent Jackie Gordon to the general for Pete King’s newly open seat.

The Democratic primary for CD3, featuring incumbent Rep. Tom Suozzi plus challengers Melanie D’Arrigo and Michael Weinstock, netted more than 56,000 total votes, according to Suozzi’s campaign (New York City is still counting votes in its section of the district). That’s nearly three times the 2016 primary, which was another presidential year, plus an open primary. 

What led to the jump? Due to the pandemic, the state encouraged voters to vote absentee and tens of thousands did so, perhaps leading to more participation than usual. 

Some of the candidates spent big, like businessman Perry Gershon and scientist Nancy Goroff in the CD1 Democratic contest, meaning that the primary was all over TV. 

Some Democratic campaign veterans suggested that Democrats are already eager to come out against President Donald Trump. 

But there were signs of energy on the GOP side, too. The CD4 Republican primary for the right to face Rep. Kathleen Rice was a similar draw to the last GOP primary there in 2014. But the CD2 GOP clash between State Assembly members Andrew Garbarino and Mike LiPetri drew more than 27,000 votes, more than twice the count in the 2018 Democratic primary (there hasn’t been an open-seat GOP primary in King’s district in a while — perhaps suggesting that Long Islanders are very politically active this year and that the ease of absentee voting has encouraged more people to take part. 

—Mark Chiusano @mjchiusano

Pencil Point

No predicting 2020

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Quick Points

  • The debate about paying public employee union members for unused sick and personal days when they retire now has Long Island government leaders saying such severance payments are not an issue because they are manageable and accounted for in current budgeting. Since taxpayers who pay for those sick days almost never get that perk, here’s a better idea: Cancel the benefit and reduce our taxes, don’t say you gouged us enough to pay for it.
  • President Donald Trump’s chief of staff, Mark Meadows, has planted specific information with people he suspects of being leakers as a trap to out them. But Meadows’ plan was — wait for it — leaked to the media.
  • Education Secretary Betsy DeVos says schools must re-open in the fall while COVID-19 testing czar Adm. Brett Giroir says it’s still too early to do so safely. Good to see the Trump administration is as consistent as ever in staying on message.
  • Florida is No.1 in coronavirus cases, its 15,300 reported on Sunday breaking the one-day record held previously by California and New York. So Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis was right when he said Florida was outdoing New York.
  • Former special counsel Robert Mueller wrote in an emphatic and decisive op-ed that dirty trickster Roger Stone — whose sentence for lying to Mueller’s prosecutors, witness tampering and obstruction was commuted by President Donald Trump — “remains a convicted felon and rightly so.” That’s good, but where was that Mueller on the day he testified before Congress?
  • President Donald Trump tweeted that he plays golf “VERY fast” and has played much less than former President Barack Obama. Oh, you want a fact-check? Trump has played nearly three times as many rounds as Obama had at this point in his first term.
  • Coronavirus testing czar Adm. Brett Giroir said that the nation’s top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, is “not 100% right.” But he’s a lot closer to 100% than anyone else in the administration.
  • Democratic officials from Texas, Georgia and Ohio are begging Joe Biden to campaign in those states, saying he can win them in November, but Biden’s campaign so far has not responded. Why does this feel like Wisconsin and Michigan calling to Hillary Clinton in 2016? Biden is too cautious and Clinton was too confident, but will the end result be the same?

—Michael Dobie @mwdobie