At the Coral House in Baldwin, Republicans gathered on Election Night in anticipation of the results that would later prove their campaign efforts were fruitful. Sparkling fireworks were shot along the stage and candidates enthusiastically celebrated their wins as the returns pointed towards a red wave washing over the island.
A little over six miles north at the Garden City Hotel, the Democrats gathered for their own Election Night watch party. No fireworks were shot off nor were a slew of candidates celebrating their wins. Instead attendees gathered as New York State Democratic Committee Chairman Jay Jacobs spoke on the early election signs of what would be losses for the party in Nassau County.
The night began with hope and cheer in the atmosphere, as attendees closely watched the News12 election broadcast being shown on nearly every wall of the event space.
As the broadcast went through every race, showing the percentage of votes each candidate had, attendees erupted in applause for every race in which a Democrat was leading. For every race where Democratic candidates trailed, silence washed over the room.
Jacobs gave his speech when just 48% of Nassau County’s total votes were tallied, noting “a lot more votes to take in” and signaling hope for the party.
Those hopeful votes to come included the Town of North Hempstead, whose final count resulted in the Republican Party gaining a 4-3 advantage on the Town Board. This flipped the town’s partisan split from a Democratic majority to a Republican one – the first time in more than 30 years.
Republican incumbent Supervisor Jennifer DeSena was re-elected alongside newly elected town Councilmember Ed Scott, who beat out Democratic incumbent Peter Zuckerman. These two races were crucial in the Republicans’ win of the town majority.
Jacobs referred to the Nov. 7 election as a “status quo election” with losses and gains throughout the county that maintained a close resemblance to its partisanship prior to the election.
While many seats did not flip in favor of Republicans, enough did for Republicans to gain control in all towns, county and congressional seats in Nassau.
Among the losses was control of Long Beach by the Democrats.
Remaining the same is the county Legislature’s partisan split, with a 12-7 division in the government and Republicans maintaining control.
This was achieved by two newly elected Democrats and incumbent Debra Mulé flipping a seat previously held by a Republican, running for a new district than she represented in the past after maps were redrawn. One legislative seat lost by Democrats was District 18, as incumbent Joshua Lafazan was beaten out by Republican Samantha Goetz.
“So I’m very happy to congratulate the Democratic candidates who won tonight,” Jacobs said. “And, of course, a special congratulations to two of our new legislators just elected.”
The two new Democratic legislators elected Tuesday night are Scott Davis of District 1 and Seth Koslow of District 5.
Both new legislators took the stage to give speeches of appreciation for their supporters amid their wins, proving to be one of the more lively moments of the entire night as the backers cheered them on.
Despite losing seats throughout the county and partisanship control of municipalities, Jacobs congratulated the Democratic Party and contributors on their efforts in this election.
“I want to thank all of you,” Jacobs said. “Who went out, knocked on doors, made phone calls, stood at the train stations … draw out the vote as you always do.”
Jacobs said that voter turnout was “exceedingly low” this year, attributing it to an “odd-year election.” He said this was prevalent across the state, not unique to Long Island.
“The lesson is this: It is incumbent upon us to see to it that we get a system where we can run elections like these that are important elections that have important races in even years when the voters are of a mindset to come out and vote,” Jacobs said. “We need voters who are going to pay attention to the issues. We need voters who are going to feel engaged in an election.”
Nobody came out to speak after Jacobs and the two new legislators were done. Nobody announced that the event was wrapping up. Nobody provided any closing remarks.
At one point, North Hempstead supervisor candidate Jon Kaiman, who had not been mingling during much of the event, appeared close to midnight saying he was just roaming around as he waited for more votes to come in as he trailed behind DeSena in the race. He did not have much information to share with reporters who were becoming the majority of attendees at the event.
Results later that night confirmed his loss to incumbent DeSena.
As patrons left, some could be overheard expressing their grievances about Jacobs and his leadership of the county’s Democratic Party while walking through the sparsely filled room.
At about midnight, with only a handful of people still in attendance at the event, the lights turned on. The event staff began to put away all the tables, chairs and decorations.
Many people, including members of the press, stood around unsure of what exactly was happening with no clear announcement that the event was concluding.
The Democratic watch party was clearly over. Nobody else from the Democratic Party was coming to speak on the results of a night that signified defeats for the party throughout the county.