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Looking to the future

Nassau County Comptroller Jack Schnirman.

Nassau County Comptroller Jack Schnirman. Credit: Danielle Silverman

Daily Point

Many eyes on Schnirman’s job

With Democratic Nassau County Comptroller Jack Schnirman seeking reelection, any comment from state and county party chairman Jay Jacobs acknowledging the possibility that Schnirman won’t be the nominee is noteworthy — particularly as the discussion on the Republican side over their candidate is heating up.

Tuesday morning, Nassau County Legis. Howard Kopel met Republican Party Chairman Joseph Cairo. And while Kopel did not want to go into details about the meeting, he did concede that he’d be interested in the run if the party is interested in running him, and that the first step in any such deliberation is a convo with Cairo.

"I love being a legislator, and I’m content, but I certainly would be interested in seeking countywide office if the party was behind me," Kopel told The Point Tuesday.

The Lawrence Republican has flirted with runs for both county executive and comptroller in the past but never pulled the trigger, instead rising steadily within the legislature, where he is now the deputy presiding officer, during his six terms. Asked about Kopel’s potential candidacy, Cairo reacted positively, and said it would be a lot easier to decide who to run for the GOP if he knew whom the Democrats were putting up.

So why, with a Democratic incumbent, is that a question?

To read the full story, click here.

—Lane Filler @lanefiller

Talking Point

Gordon’s life after the election

"I actually sleep really good at night," says post-campaign Jackie Gordon.

It has been about two weeks since the Copiague Democrat conceded to Bayport Republican Andrew Garbarino in the race for CD2. And ahead of the election being certified, Gordon spoke with The Point about her run.

Apart from being satisfied with her team and their work, she identified "two major issues" as factors in her loss. One was the coronavirus pandemic that prevented much in-person campaigning.

"I'm a relational person," she said, bemoaning "not being able to go to events and get into the community."

When the campaign shut down in-person stumping early on, Gordon said they had four events scheduled the next week for a field and ground-game kickoff. "I was really looking forward to that, because that's really where I'm strong," she said.

Throughout the electoral season, Gordon’s campaign was largely virtual, whereas Garbarino’s had done door-knocking with masks and in-person events as well as virtual campaigning. It was a partisan difference that tracked nationally.

The other major issue Gordon identified was a national one: the GOP focus on law enforcement in the wake of protests over George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis.

Gordon herself spent decades in the military and in military police, but that didn’t stop her opponent from returning to the subject in ads and campaign rhetoric.

She saw the subject as central to the appeal for her opponent among voters, a conclusion she drew because of what she saw as his focus on one issue.

"If someone is a pro-choice candidate, and people vote for that candidate, then you're saying, you know, most people will vote for that person because they're pro-choice," Gordon said. "He’s Back the Blue. That was his platform. So if they are supporting him, then I'm assuming it's for that reason, that they are pro-law enforcement."

Gordon’s CD2 work didn’t fully end after the election: A couple weeks ago, she did interviews as part of outgoing Rep. Pete King’s committee for nominations to West Point and other service academies, for which she helps suss out the candidates to be considered.

She said she had a "great" conversation with King himself after the election. "We have an amicable relationship," she said.

What’s next for the former Babylon Town councilwoman? For now, something restful. Gordon said she’s looking forward to a future trip to Jamaica.

—Mark Chiusano @mjchiusano

Pencil Point

Boldly going

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Final Point

A look at what’s to come?

For those looking for a sense of what Joe Biden’s presidency might look like, New Yorker writer Evan Osnos’ new book "Joe Biden: The Life, the Run, and What Matters Now" provides an up-to-date hint.

Osnos portrays the former vice president as a lover of dealmaking to a particularly gritty extent — consider Biden quoting his father during a visit to Israel in 2011 that "There’s no sense dying on a small cross" while urging Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to expand his role in Middle East peace.

While working the phones at the White House, "You didn’t know whether he was talking to a world leader or the head of the political party in Delaware," said Leon Panetta, a former Secretary of Defense who held several high-profile government posts.

The book’s other key insight is that Biden is "very much a weathervane for what the center of the left is," a senior Obama administration official tells Osnos. "He can see, ‘Okay, this is where the society is moving. This is where the Democratic Party is moving, so I’m going to move.’ "

This is one way to explain how the Delaware Democrat could move from complaining about a too-liberal rating from a progressive nonprofit group in 1974 to telling Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders in a pre-endorsement phone call that he wanted to be the most progressive president since FDR, as Osnos reports.

The wind vane was already tilting before the 2016 contest when Biden was underscoring a more populist, income-inequality, labor-centric approach than Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. It was creaking during the 2020 general election as Biden made some tacks to the left, unusual after consolidating party support in the center during the primaries. Hence, Biden’s moving toward Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren on student debt and bankruptcy, and toward Sanders on a limited version of tuition-free college.

Combining the dealmaker and weathervane reads of Biden, the book suggests that Biden would "likely prioritize certain progressive goals — such as raising the minimum wage, and taking drastic steps to address climate change — while sidestepping more polarizing proposals, such as decriminalizing the border, or extending free Medicare to undocumented immigrants."

And even if Republicans retain the U.S. Senate, Biden-world seems to think there might be a chance for an elusive, if long-expected, goal: "Biden suspected he could attract a few moderate Republicans to join him and Democrats on deals for popular items such as infrastructure investment."

—Mark Chiusano @mjchiusano

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