Curran and Gillen warn against ousting Jacobs
Since the election returns began to roll in, state Democratic Party chairman Jay Jacobs has been on the hot seat.
A statement urging Gov. Kathy Hochul to replace Jacobs has been signed by hundreds of party leaders, local officials, organizations and individuals from across the state, with most of the pressure coming from the city-centric left of the party, which has long had issues with Jacobs.
But on Long Island, where Jacobs took some of the worst losses Tuesday, some of the politicians who shouldered those losses, and who have had significant differences with the chairman, are sounding a warning about ousting him.
Former Nassau County Executive Laura Curran and former Town of Hempstead Supervisor Laura Gillen say Democrats on the left who heed those calls best be careful what they wish for.
“The bottom line is, if more Democrats in Albany simply listened to Jay’s advice on changing the cashless bail laws, given its public perception in the suburbs, Democrats would have at least four more congressional seats and would likely control Congress,” Gillen told The Point Monday.
Gillen feels she would have had one of those seats, but was instead beaten by Anthony D’Esposito in CD4. Her supportive words are particularly notable because the two had a falling-out during the primary when Jacobs, who was supporting Malverne Mayor Keith Corbett, sent a letter to his political circle asking them to hold off on backing “candidates they may have a longstanding relationship with,” meaning Gillen.
But post-primary, Gillen says Jacobs supported her and the campaign, invested resources in the race, and more importantly, “understands the suburban voter and the importance of having moderate voices in our tent.”
Then there’s Curran, who took a surprise loss a year ago as the Democratic incumbent for Nassau County executive. She has said she believes the loss was largely due to the presence of Todd Kaminsky, Jacobs’ choice for district attorney, on the ticket.
“Listen, Jay has done things I disagree with, and I have done things Jay disagrees with,” Curran said. “It’s easy for people to criticize the morning after, but the main concern is it’s not a united party … that’s the understatement of the year. But this year Long Island Democrats got killed on cashless bail, accessory dwelling units and congestion pricing, and that’s not Jay Jacobs. That’s Kathy Hochul. [Robert ] Zimmerman and Gillen outperformed Hochul.
“If this party goes further left, they’ll lose harder next time,” Curran continued.
And Zimmerman, who lost his congressional race to George Santos, thanked Jacobs for his support but defined the challenge to the party somewhat differently: “I think the left-right philosophical issue in the party is not the crux of the challenge. It’s about meeting voters where they are, and understanding how we can address their concerns.”
— Lane Filler @lanefiller
New chief, new challenge for LI builders group
The Long Island Builders Institute is getting refurbished.
Mike Florio, who most recently has served as chief of staff to Rep. Tom Suozzi, will take on the role of LIBI chief executive come January. Current LIBI CEO Mitch Pally, who served for 12 years, will be retiring at the end of the year.
“He has the experience and the expertise necessary to keep LIBI in the forefront, not only of economic development issues, but of other issues important to Long Island,” Pally told The Point Monday, noting that LIBI has become a “major stakeholder” in policy discussions about everything from housing to transit to prevailing wage, both locally and in Albany.
Pally noted that Florio will face an immediate challenge, as the new head of LIBI will have to advocate for Long Island priorities with a State Legislature that has fewer Long Island members in the majority and a governor from Buffalo.
Florio, 43, told The Point he was ready for that.
“It’s obvious Long Island has a diminished voice now in the state, so what we need to do is build coalitions regardless of party … that have similar interests that could be a voice for suburban communities,” Florio said. “Whoever is going to be an advocate for Long Island and the region is going to be a friend of ours … so we’ll go up to Albany and see who’s speaking the same language we are.”
Florio, a resident of East Northport who has three young children, said he hopes to continue building LIBI’s regional advocacy, noting that the institute under Pally has become “one of the most powerful voices for Long Island as a region.” Florio plans to maintain a spotlight on affordable housing and economic development, along with other issues, and said he wants to build a new social media presence for the organization to aid its efforts.
And Florio said he would take lessons learned from his work during Suozzi’s tenure first as county executive and then as congressman.
“I think his ability to identify an issue, to bring people together with common agendas and then go and fight for that is something that I will have to utilize in my next position, something I’ve learned from him,” Florio said.
— Randi F. Marshall @RandiMarshall
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No cruise control
- Even with control of the U.S. Senate guaranteed, don’t think Democrats will relax in the December runoff in Georgia between Sen. Raphael Warnock and GOP challenger Herschel Walker. The difference between 51-49 and 50-50 isn’t just Joe Manchin not being able to single-handedly hold up anything. It’s also a potent call for more campaign contributions — and nothing speaks quite so eloquently in politics as money.
- As Govs. Ron DeSantis and Glenn Youngkin maneuver for presidential runs in 2024, former President Donald Trump is telling people the two have not been sufficiently thankful for his help in their victorious elections. Many people who helped Trump win in 2016 are still waiting for him to be sufficiently thankful.
- Just to recap the midterms one more time: Extremists on the right and progressives on the left underperformed. Hello, Washington, the center is calling.
- A new U.S. intelligence report says a key U.S. ally in the Mideast, the United Arab Emirates, meddled in the American political system to try to manipulate it. At this point, is there any country that hasn’t meddled in American politics?
- Arizona GOP gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake is complaining about the ongoing count of ballots, saying, “We can’t be the laughingstock of elections anymore here in Arizona.” Pretty much the only person calling Arizona a laughingstock is Kari Lake.
- A cruise ship docked in Sydney, Australia, over the weekend with 800 cases of COVID-19 aboard. Just in case you thought it safe to go back on the water.
- As a reporter at Newsday, she was the first woman sportswriter to enter a pro basketball locker room, and later wrote touchingly and perceptively about aging. RIP, Jane Gross.
— Michael Dobie @mwdobie