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A rare Senator sighting
U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand was sighted on Long Island Monday morning at a news conference in Uniondale. She appeared with two shooting victims to promote a bill limiting the sales and types of guns that would be legal.
A Gillibrand sighting is a somewhat rare event here. Her last appearance was in Brookhaven on Oct. 16, accompanied by New York’s other U.S. senator, Chuck Schumer, to announce the award of $5.8 million in federal funding to upgrade the town’s emergency response capacity. As luck would have it, Schumer, who is the Senate minority leader, will make an announcement in Garden City on Tuesday, bringing his total events on Long Island so far this year to 13.
Over the past year, Gillibrand has appeared six times on Long Island, according to her official website.
Given that Long Island holds about 15 percent of the state population, we wonder whether that math will hold steady as Gillibrand seeks re-election in 2018.
Blue wave forming
The lawn signs are still lingering for 2017, but election 2018 is heating up, especially for the State Senate.
On Monday, Democrat Andrew Gounardes declared his candidacy for Republican State Sen. Marty Golden’s seat in Brooklyn.
It could shape up as a rare chance for Democrats to knock off an incumbent, and Gounardes is not alone in challenging Golden. Journalist Ross Barkan launched a campaign as a Democrat in October.
Golden’s seat is tantalizing for Democrats, one of two truly Republican NYC Senate districts. Democrats hold a registration advantage of more than 40,000 active voters. Gounardes, who works for Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, ran a competitive campaign against Golden in 2012, winning about 40 percent of the vote. The changing district includes more newcomers, symbolized by the unsuccessful but spirited City Council primary campaign of Khader El-Yateem, a socialist Palestinian-American pastor who got 30 percent of the vote.
There’s a reason Golden, a former NYPD officer and City Council member, has been pretty safe since being elected in 2002. He raises funds well, and the district was carefully gerrymandered to link Republican neighborhoods including Marine Park, Gerritsen Beach and Dyker Heights. Some 40,000 voters registered as blanks dim whatever hypothetical registration advantage Democrats have.
Perhaps a blue wave during the midterm season next year will overcome such constraints on the ground. President Donald Trump’s election “woke people up in a way they hadn’t been awake before,” Gounardes tells The Point. “Politics is real now.”
The GOP tax overhaul is predicted to hurt many New Yorkers, and a backlash could be a factor helping Democrats take over the State Senate. Worries of a national political trickle-down seem evident in the statement State Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan put out Monday: “Landmark Middle Class Income Tax Cuts to Take Effect January 1.” It credits the U.S. Senate GOP with helping the middle class and notes that state income taxes would be the lowest since 1948 after the federal tax reform plan is fully phased in over four years. A Democratic primary with the potential to energize voters represents a change of pace from Golden’s usual cakewalk.
- Construction workers in Seattle found a time capsule buried at the Space Needle that was overdue to be opened and that dated all the way to . . . 1982. By that standard, most homeowners have entire attics that qualify as time capsules.
- Finally, something Republicans and Democrats agree on: That Hillary Clinton should not accept President Donald Trump’s Twitter dare to run against him again in 2020.
- Alabama GOP senatorial candidate Roy Moore describes himself as a conservative Christian who believes in family values — which is true only if the family values its teenage daughters dating men in their 30s and does not have any Muslim, gay or transgender members.
- When President Donald Trump put on hold his administration’s decision to lift a ban on importing trophies of elephants killed in Africa, he said the suspension would give him time to “review all conservation facts.” Which seems to imply they weren’t reviewed before the ban was lifted.
- Experts expect that Hempstead Town Democratic Supervisor-elect Laura Gillen will have a three-person coalition on the seven-member town board that includes herself and Republicans Erin King Sweeney and Bruce Blakeman. Which means she apparently cannot count on the other Democrat on the board, Dorothy Goosby, who for years has been known as a Dino — a Democrat in name only.
- Street violence is spiking in Rio de Janeiro this year. Guess the glow from last year’s Olympics has worn off.
- On Tuesday, President Donald Trump will pardon a turkey. No, not Mike Flynn — one that gobbles, not one that colludes.