Democrat Judy Griffin, left, and Republican Brian Curran.

Democrat Judy Griffin, left, and Republican Brian Curran. Credit: James Escher

Daily Point

Close encounter of the third kind

Every election season seems to feature a comeback effort. Last year, Democrat Jon Kaiman tried to return as North Hempstead Town supervisor but fell short against GOP incumbent Jennifer DeSena. Last month, Rep. Tom Suozzi, a veteran Democrat, recouped his old seat in a special election, defeating Legis. Mazi Melesa Pilip, whom the Republicans backed to succeed the expelled George Santos.

In 2022, amid a “red wave” that covered Long Island and some parts west, Brian Curran returned to the state Assembly by unseating Judy Griffin — the Democratic newcomer who ousted him in 2018. Now Griffin seeks to return to represent the 21st Assembly District.

As recrafted, the district includes part of Valley Stream and additional parts of Freeport and North Baldwin, reconfigures its Oceanside portions, and removes all of Franklin Square and part of West Hempstead.

Curran won last time by 138 votes. This year, Democrats statewide believe the wind to be at their backs. In New York, presidential years still tend to maximize the dominant party’s turnout. Will Curran withstand the two-year climate change?

Griffin told The Point that while in the Assembly she advocated for public safety, and would do so again, with a “strong relationship” with law enforcement. She noted she has good relations with moderate Republicans in the community, and declines the lefty Working Families Party support even as Curran is backed on a third line by the Conservative Party. In her time away from Albany, Griffin said she has been working to revitalize the Rockville Centre Democratic Club.

She boasted “a proven record of getting things done for our district.”

Republicans make up a majority of Long Island’s Assembly delegation but they are a clout-challenged minority in that lower chamber. Contacted by The Point for response, Curran reflected GOP positions of recent years against bail reforms, congestion pricing policies, COVID-19 “lockdowns,” and a housing plan since abandoned by Gov. Kathy Hochul.

“I look forward to the upcoming campaign and talking to the voters about how we can make New York more safe and affordable to live, work and raise a family,” Curran said.

If AD21 voters become tired of the déjà vu aspect of this rivalry, they can console themselves by remembering that misery loves company: A certain race at the top of the national ballot is also a rematch.

— Dan Janison

Pencil Point


Credit: / jeffreykoterba/Jeff Koterba

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Quick Points

Getting it straight

  • Sen. Katie Britt (R-Ala.) defended her use of a story about a woman who was trafficked for sex to attack President Joe Biden’s immigration policies in her rebuttal to his State of the Union speech — despite the fact that the woman was trafficked in Mexico and it happened during the administration of President George W. Bush. No, two wrongs do not make a right.
  • New York State has fined illegal pot shops more than $25 million but has collected only $22,500 of that, such a bumbling effort that you wonder whether state officials are, you know, stoned.
  • Conservative Republican Rep. Scott Perry of Pennsylvania says he supports in vitro fertilization after the Alabama Supreme Court decision, despite having backed legislation last year that subverts IVF by declaring that life begins at conception. Given his many colleagues in the same position, it’s a tap dance that will play out repeatedly between now and November.
  • Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), talking about the difficulties of getting humanitarian aid to Gaza, said, “I think Israel will be coming up with some sea corridor ideas.” Here’s an idea: Just let boats carrying humanitarian aid deliver the aid.
  • After Pope Francis said Ukraine should have the “courage” to negotiate an end to the war with Russia, Polish foreign minister Radek Sikorski tweeted, “How about, for balance, encouraging Putin to have the courage to withdraw his army from Ukraine?” No wisecrack here; you can’t top that.
  • New home prices in the U.S. are falling, largely because the size of new homes is getting smaller. Call it the latest example of shrinkflation in America.

— Michael Dobie

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