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Letting their voices be heard

Voters line up to cast their vote on

Voters line up to cast their vote on the second day of early voting at the Stony Brook University Campus in Southampton on Sunday. Credit: Randee Daddona

Daily Point

Taking a look at early voter turnout

The early vote totals were big on Long Island on Saturday and Sunday, and they were also fairly Democratic.

In every Long Island congressional, State Senate, and State Assembly district, more Democrats than Republicans came out to cast their votes over the first weekend of early voting, according to county election board data about the 55,000+ votes cast in Nassau and Suffolk.

In the congressional races, CD4 saw the highest number of weekend votes, more than 21,000 for the contest between Democratic Rep. Kathleen Rice and Republican Doug Tuman. That race, along with CD1 and CD3, logged roughly three times as many Democrats as Republicans for the weekend, while the tight CD2 race for Pete King’s open seat had a slightly smaller 2.4-to-1 Democratic advantage.

The biggest State Senate turnout (more than 8,400 total votes each) came in Anna Kaplan’s SD7 and in SD6, where incumbent Kevin Thomas is in a tight contest with Hempstead Town Councilman Dennis Dunne Sr. Both districts saw thousands more Democrats voting than Republicans.

And the most Assembly voters came out for AD14, where Democrat Kevin Gorman is taking on GOP Assemb. David McDonough.

It’s too early to tell whether the weekend advantage in Democratic early voting will hold in particular districts or at all, given that thousands of blank voters also have cast ballots and it’s uncertain whom people will vote for regardless of party affiliation. And it’s still unclear whether the bursts of early voters signify new voters who might not have shown up in a year with fewer voting options, or just regulars who decided to get their civic duty done early and wait for the fireworks.

—Mark Chiusano @mjchiusano

Talking Point

Support for Kevin Thomas

It seems that of the Long Island Six — as the six Democrat state senators are known — one is in more trouble this election season than any other.

There’s growing concern among Democrats that State Sen. Kevin Thomas, who is completing his first term, is vulnerable in his race with Dennis Dunne, a Hempstead Town council member who had a long run as a county legislator. The tight race has led Republicans and others to focus their attention — and money — on Thomas, and he’s been the target of a slew of attack ads from the Nassau County GOP, New York City’s Police Benevolent Association, and the Safe Together NY PAC.

All of that could in part explain why there’s now a significant flow of campaign dollars going in Thomas’ direction.

New Yorkers for a Balanced Albany, a PAC run by StudentsFirstNY, a pro-charter school advocacy group, has reported spending $3.7 million this campaign season — and nearly all of it is going to two Long Island races. Of that total, $2 million has gone to Thomas, for polling, television ads, robocalls, and more. The State Senate Democrats’ committee, meanwhile, already has spent $500,000 on the Thomas race, with another $100,000 to come.

Nearly $1.7 million of the New Yorkers for a Balanced Albany funding has gone to newcomer Laura Ahearn, a Democrat who is running to fill State Sen. Ken LaValle’s seat. Observers tell The Point that Ahearn’s race against Republican Assemb. Anthony Palumbo is currently "a toss up."

Sources tell The Point that New Yorkers for a Balanced Albany has another $3.1 million left to spend between now and Election Day.

When the State Senate was under Republican control, the PAC, like other pro-charter groups, tended to support Republicans. But that’s not the case this year when both chambers will be solidly Democratic regardless of individual winners and losers.

"StudentsFirstNY chose to go all in to support the candidates we believe will stand up for public school students and have the most impact on improving education in New York," StudentsFirstNY Executive Director Jenny Sedlis said in a statement.

—Randi F. Marshall @RandiMarshall

Pencil Point

Rock the vote

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Quick Points

  • President Donald Trump said at a weekend rally that the nation is "rounding the turn" on the coronavirus and "our numbers are incredible." And he’s right. The nation is rounding the turn toward horrible, and our numbers are incredible with daily totals of more than 80,000 new cases, surpassing previous records from the height of the pandemic.
  • As Hong Kong activists seek asylum in the United States, Canada and Germany amid China’s widening crackdown on Hong Kong, Chinese leaders are condemning the three countries for interfering in Beijing’s affairs. Which is rich, since the reason the activists are fleeing is because China interfered in Hong Kong’s affairs.
  • While Long Island impresses with its heavy early voting turnout, the hundreds if not thousands of people waiting patiently in line make one thing perfectly clear: Long Island needs more early voting sites. We hear the Nassau Coliseum is empty.
  • President Donald Trump plans to fire FBI Director Christopher Wray, CIA Director Gina Haspel and Defense Secretary Mark Esper if he wins reelection. Among their sins: At times, they’ve told the truth and done the right thing.
  • After weeks of entreaties from Texas Democrats to spend more money and have more of a presence in a long-red state where Joe Biden only trails President Donald Trump in the RealClearPolitics average of polls by 3.2 points, within the margin of error, Biden has decided to send running mate Kamala Harris to campaign there on Friday. Perhaps Biden is realizing the truth about politics in Texas: Go big or go home.
  • When the U.S. Senate voted Sunday to advance Amy Coney Barrett’s Supreme Court nomination to a vote by the full Senate on Monday, it was widely reported that the move put Barrett on course to be confirmed. Let’s be honest: She’s been on course to be confirmed since the day Ruth Bader Ginsburg died.
  • White House chief of staff Mark Meadows said Sunday, "We are not going to control the pandemic." Was that a statement of intent, or an acknowledgement that that’s what happens when you don’t even try?
  • Vice President Mike Pence continues to campaign despite five staff members testing positive for COVID-19, under the rationale that he’s an essential worker. Even if you accept that, campaigning is not the essential part of his job.
  • At a campaign rally in North Carolina, President Donald Trump complained about the media’s focus on COVID-19, saying, "A plane goes down, 500 people dead, they don’t talk about it." Perhaps because no plane has gone down and killed 500 people.
  • I knew a man, Bojangles, and he danced for you. Now he dances forever. RIP, Jerry Jeff Walker.

—Michael Dobie @mwdobie