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Careful planning

Primaries in North Carolina and Ohio this week

Primaries in North Carolina and Ohio this week will indicate whether or not Democrats have a chance of flipping the House in the midterm elections in November, says Meredith Kelly a spokeswoman for the DCCC.

Daily Point

The DCCC’s vested interest in CD1 and CD2

The House Democrats’ national campaign organ is very interested in Long Island’s 1st and 2nd congressional districts this year — much more so than in 2018, when outsider candidates hoped to latch onto a blue wave.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s independent expenditure unit has since mid-August pumped close to $2 million in media buys and production into the CD2 race against Andrew Garbarino, according to Federal Election Commission figures.

And the committee’s IE unit recently also spent hundreds of thousands of dollars against Rep. Lee Zeldin in CD1.

That’s very much to the benefit of Jackie Gordon and Nancy Goroff, this year’s Democratic contenders for those seats, respectively. Their predecessors, Liuba Grechen Shirley and Perry Gershon, weren’t as lucky. The DCCC IE unit logged no spending in CD2 in 2018, when longstanding Rep. Pete King was running (he’s now retiring from Congress). And while a union-affiliated super PAC came in big against Zeldin last cycle, mainstream Democrat-aligned groups also spent less: the House Majority PAC, for example, logged just under $60,000, according to FEC records.

It’s just another sign that Democrats hope the districts are more competitive than last round, when the 2018 challengers got within single digits without huge party support. Some elections prognosticators have shifted CD2 a bit blue, including fivethirtyeight.com, which now has Gordon "slightly favored." An October survey conducted for Goroff-supporting environmental group 314 Action Fund finds her just a point behind Zeldin — with former Vice President Joe Biden leading President Donald Trump by 4 points in the district. In August, a DCCC poll showed Goroff in the lead and Trump down, not great news if accurate for the president in what had been fairly reliable Trump country.

—Mark Chiusano @mjchiusano

Talking Point

Practice, practice, practice

There were two purposes for the "point-of-dispensing" exercise in the Health Sciences Center Galleria at Stony Brook University Hospital: to get the flu vaccine to hospital staff and affiliates, and also to get ready for a COVID-19 vaccine.

"We’re practicing," hospital emergency manager Connie Kraft told The Point during an early Tuesday morning visit.

It’s just one way that hospitals are doing painstaking preparations for a COVID-19 vaccine that could still be months or more away. When it arrives, hospital workers and affiliates would likely be quickly inoculated, and Kraft said the third-floor setup could run 24 hours for multiple days. But you have to make sure it’s done safely — which was the reason for the touchless registration and one-way flow allowing people to get vaccinated without crowds. During a timing test while The Point was visiting, it took an average of 2 minutes and 40 seconds for people to get done with their flu shots.

There are lots of complications to consider, from refrigeration for vaccines to vaccinating the vaccinators. And there are even more issues to think about when the dispensing event is for the public. Pointing to security guards on duty, Kraft noted that in a public health emergency where people might be concerned they wouldn't get the vaccine they want, authority figures would be present for the possibility of "civil unrest."

This kind of dry run has been done at Stony Brook for years — including with M&Ms being dispensed — and the exercise ran smoothly Tuesday morning. The event resulted in 685 flu vaccinations on Tuesday and 1,075 in an iteration the week before.

But the pandemic was present in the background.

"Give us the medicine and we'll take care of getting it out to our people," said Kraft.

In the coming weeks, Newsday Opinion will follow the steps taken by Long Island hospitals to weather the pandemic this fall. Follow along here and @NewsdayOpinion.

—Mark Chiusano @mjchiusano

Pencil Point

I cannot tell a lie

For more cartoons, visit www.newsday.com/cartoons

Final Point

Voting season sneak peek

The Point got a tour of an early-voting site in Suffolk and the storage area for Nassau elections equipment for a new video making the case for early voting this campaign season.

New voting options like expanded absentee voting and early voting may prove crucial this year to help smooth the voting process during a pandemic. For those able to, there are a few reasons early voting can be particularly effective. Elections officials are stockpiling personal protective equipment and hand sanitizer to make in-person voting safer. And the long hours and sometimes-cavernous spaces of early-voting locations mean less likelihood of crowds, plus more opportunities to take the strain off the U.S. Postal Service’s delivering of absentee ballots.

Take a look at the video for a peak at old Long Island voting machines and what voting will look like at Brookhaven Town Hall this year.

—Mark Chiusano @mjchiusano

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