Sadly, the dominant issue in this dispiriting rematch has been the residence of Democratic incumbent Edward Hennessey.
Hennessey says he lives in Shirley, in a house he says he moved into after winning election in 2012. But he acknowledges that his family continues to reside in East Moriches, outside district lines redrawn in 2012. Assembly Republicans hired a private investigator who placed a GPS device under one of Hennessey's cars -- a creepy but legal tactic -- in an attempt to prove that Hennessey was still living in East Moriches, which would disqualify him from the ballot. A Democratic judge -- cross-endorsed last year by the GOP -- looked at the evidence and ruled in favor of Hennessey. His GOP opponent and Assembly predecessor, Dean Murray, 50, of East Patchogue, denies any role in the GPS tracking but declines to condemn it. That's unfortunate.
Murray continues to make Hennessey's residence a campaign issue. Hennessey says his life is not a Norman Rockwell painting, and that he and his wife have personal reasons for having separate residences.
Hennessey's legislative record is a mixed bag. A bill to increase penalties for leaving the scene of an accident passed the Assembly but did not become law because the Senate version was slightly different. Failing to reconcile the two bills was sloppy. He needs to try again. Another bill to reimburse school districts that invest in solar panels also was passed but so far lacks a Senate companion. Murray says he would push a mandate relief bill for school districts, identifying that as essential for coping with the tax cap, but is short on specifics when asked to identify which mandates should be cut.
Hennessey, 52, an attorney, applauds the START-UP NY program, which seeks to generate and attract new businesses by creating tax-free zones on SUNY campuses. Murray, a businessman, says it hurts existing businesses. Hennessey favors continuing to raise the minimum wage; Murray is opposed.
We wish Hennessey would once and for all clear up the residence issue. Even more so, we wish Murray would speak forcefully against the GPS tracking.
Newsday endorses Hennessey.