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LI in the spotlight

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Daily Point

Kathleen Rice wades into Democrats’ leadership fight

Just a week after her election to a second term in the House of Representatives, Rep. Kathleen Rice is in the midst of a search for the soul of the Democratic Party.

Rice was one of the first Democrats to sign a letter requesting a delay in the vote for the minority-party leaders in the House. As a result, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi granted a delay until after Thanksgiving. On Tuesday, one of Rice’s aides said his boss was involved in a series of discussions to take stock of last week’s election losses and decide how the party should move forward.

“She’s been saying there’s no need to move so quickly,” said Coleman Lamb, a Rice spokesman. He said her position is that “we need to figure out a strategy that we can all unite behind, and then choose the leadership that can carry out that strategy.”

Rep. Tim Ryan, who was just elected to an eighth term from a blue-collar district in northeast Ohio, has said he’s considering a run for leader against Pelosi, whose district includes San Francisco.

Anne Michaud

Talking Point

Eyes on LI for control of State Senate

Albany is closely watching the count of absentee votes on Long Island to determine who will control the State Senate. Each party has 31 seats in the 63-seat chamber, so the 8th District contest between incumbent Republican Michael Venditto and Democratic nominee John Brooks, who led the Election Day tally by 33 votes, is important to who will hold the gavel. Various independent Democrats are waiting before deciding which side to support.

Some advice: This will take at least a few weeks.

Tuesday is the deadline for the return of paper absentee ballots, and a state-required recount of all the machine votes is not until next Wednesday. There are slightly more than 6,100 absentee ballots from the Nassau County part of the district, and 1,300 from Suffolk. Add to that about 1,500 affidavit ballots of voters who showed up at the wrong polling place and couldn’t be found in registration books. All told, that’s nearly 9,000 pieces of paper to check.

The counting starts on Monday for three days and then resumes the Monday after Thanksgiving.

After that, it’s a matter of how long the attorneys for each side want the process to take, because the usual rules for challenging ballots don’t apply. While most absentees tend to vote in alignment with their party, this year more Republicans are likely to have cast an anti-Venditto vote to protest the senator’s father, John Venditto, the Town of Oyster Bay supervisor who is under federal indictment. However, many Democrats may have strayed to Donald Trump on the top of the GOP line and stayed there down the ballot as well.

But if most absentee ballots were returned after the elder Venditto’s indictment on Oct. 20, but before FBI Director James Comey’s email bombshell about Hillary Clinton on Oct. 28, this may not be that close after all.

Rita Ciolli

Pencil Point

Into the wilderness

Click here to see more cartoons about president-elect Donald Trump.

Bonus Point

Hofstra expands immigration law efforts

Donald Trump says he will deport 2 million to 3 million immigrants here illegally who have “criminal backgrounds,” but it’s unclear exactly who will be targeted. And that is making a lot of people here very nervous.

In response, Hofstra University’s law school plans to expand its nationally recognized clinical programs in which students provide legal representation to members of the Long Island immigrant community who cannot afford private attorneys. The clinics may also represent Hofstra students who have gained status here under President Barack Obama’s executive order, known as DACA, which gives legal status to those who arrived here as children.

Yet another one of Trump’s job creation programs.

Rita Ciolli