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Tales of a special election
The daily doses of alleged corruption, both bold and petty, emanating from the trial of former Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano and former Oyster Bay Supervisor John Venditto are causing agita in the Nassau GOP. The party is worried that the revelations will hurt its chances in a special election on April 24.
When Assemb. Thomas McKevitt was elected to the better-paying job of a Nassau County legislator in November, there was no doubt that the 17th Assembly District would be filled by another Republican. After all, the district is the heart of the Republican power base — communities like Seaford and East Meadow — and the party has a 5,000-voter registration advantage there.
The GOP nominated John Mikulin, a deputy town attorney for Hempstead and president of the Island Trees Library Board, someone who has paid his dues and is ready to move up the party chain. However, with meager dollars in GOP coffers, dissent over the party’s loss of Hempstead Town, dissatisfaction with GOP chairman Joseph Mondello, and split loyalties to his likely successor, Joseph Cairo, the ground organization could be weak.
The party has given Mikulin $5,000 and will make some robocalls, but it wants to hoard other resources for fall state legislative races, a party insider told The Point.
Democrat Matthew Malin, 25, of Seaford, who ran for McKevitt’s seat in 2016, doesn’t have much of a track record, but he is hitting the corruption issue hard.
Democrats aren’t spending a dime. Should Malin pull off an upset, his victory would be an unmistakable canary in the coal mine for this fall. Such a win would be a combination of Republicans staying home and the Democratic resistance coming out. And the resonance of the corruption issue in the county.
Hawks of a feather: Peter King backs John Bolton
Although the appointment of hawkish John Bolton as President Donald Trump’s third national security adviser has raised alarms on the left, Bolton does not require Senate confirmation and does not appear to need political cover as he assumes his position.
But there was Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford) lending his support Wednesday in an op-ed published in The Hill, a Washington publication well-read by capital insiders.
King said James Finkelstein, the New Yorker who owns The Hill and is a friend of King, asked him to write the column. And you usually don’t have to ask King twice for his opinion.
“On an issue like this when it’s part of a national debate, I basically wanted to be heard,” King told The Point. “The Hill, it’s one of those papers in Washington that have influence, everyone reads it.”
King said his connection to Bolton goes back to the period from 2012 to 2015 when King contemplated a run for president and found himself on several panels with Bolton in New Hampshire. He said he has attended Bolton fundraisers and has received contributions from Bolton’s political action committee.
But his support for Bolton now is more pragmatic.
“Especially with the North Korea talks coming up, President Trump needs a realist there,” King said. “To me, he’s going to be able to spot what’s real and not real coming from North Korea.”
King said, “That’s one of the reasons I’m jumping on this . . . He could be a positive check on Donald Trump making too quick a deal.”
King chuckled when told that Liuba Grechen Shirley, a progressive Democrat running in her party’s primary for the nomination to take on King, now has something new on which to attack him.
“If I was on the left, maybe I’d be alarmed,” King said. “I just speak out on issues. I’m not just in this to get reelected.”
Phillips gets her idea into the room
Among the new sexual harassment laws expected to be included in the 2018-19 New York State budget is an element from a bill crafted by female lawmakers.
Sens. Catharine Young and Elaine Phillips succeeded in persuading their Republican majority colleagues to pass a bill this month that covers not only employees but also independent contractors.
Phillips had told The Point that independent contractors are at particular risk for harassment because their employment status is more tenuous. It’s not clear how many New Yorkers work as independent contractors, but state employee unions in recent years have complained about state government hiring such workers rather than promoting from within.
The comprehensive anti-harassment laws were written despite criticism, especially from Sen. Andrea Stewart-Cousins, the leader of the Democratic conference, that women are being left out of the final negotiations. Stewart-Cousins, as the minority leader, has been excluded. As one of the four men in the room debating the state budget as well as the sexual harassment legislation, Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan can at least channel his female colleagues’ advice.