The red wave: Republicans celebrate victory in Nassau County

The red wave: Republicans celebrate victory in Nassau County
Ed Scott, who is leading North Hempstead's District 2 race ahead of absentee ballots being counted, celebrated his pending victory at a press conference Thursday. (Photo by Cameryn Oakes)

Election night brought a red wave that washed over Nassau County and the entire island, and many Republicans celebrated their successes at a rally Thursday where they attributed much of it to their ability to appeal to the voters and the strength in the party’s teamwork.

“The people always get the last word and the people have spoken,” Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman said.

Tuesday’s election showed a national big win for Democrats with notable elections of Democratic candidates and the passing of legislative measures

Despite this national trend, and Democrats holding a 100,000 edge in registered voters, Nassau County proved to be the outlier with a red wave enveloping the entirety of the island.

Nassau Republican Committee Chairman Joseph Cairo Jr. touted the Republicans’ win and attributed it to the party’s ability to appeal to voters, being on the “right side of the issues,” having good candidates and working hard.

Blakeman said the people care about issues such as safer communities and lower taxes, which the winning Republicans stand for.

“They were elected because they stand for these principles,” Blakeman said. “But we are not only a principled party, we’re also a pragmatic party.”

Cairo applauded the results of Tuesday’s election, calling it a “great day” for Nassau County Republicans.

While thanks and appreciation were tossed around by the winners, many thanks were extended to Cairo and the “team” of Republicans that helped secure the win and sweep the “red wave” across the island.

Notable wins for the Republicans, Cairo said, were gaining control of Long Beach and North Hempstead, long held by Democrats, and maintaining control of the county legislature.

“Now as the dust has settled after Election Day, I’m extremely proud to lead the first Republican majority in North Hempstead in more than 30 years,” North Hempstead Supervisor Jennifer DeSena said.

This is the first time since the 1970s that the Republican Party controls all towns, county and congressional seats in Nassau.

“I think the people spoke,” Cairo said.

Cairo applauded the wins of notable Republicans in the Town of North Hempstead, including re-elected Supervisor DeSena, who Cairo called the “king of North Hempstead,” and newly elected Receiver of Taxes Mary Jo Collins and Councilmember Ed Scott.

Republicans now hold a 4-3 majority on the North Hempstead Town Board.

While Cairo declared Scott the winner of North Hempstead’s District 2 race, absentee ballots are still being counted and the race has not been officially determined.

DeSena said gaining a Republican majority in the town was made possible by residents who were able to “see through the political games,” the progress she achieved in the past two years and the party’s acknowledgment of issues they care about.

Along with the Republican majority on the board, DeSena also highlighted the addition of the town’s new Republican receiver of taxes and present Republican clerk, saying that she now has the support to work on the measures she has been pushing with a “taxpayer-first principle.”

DeSena told Blank Slate that she is grateful for this Republican majority in the town as she can now deliver on what she has been seeking during her tenure.

“I finally have colleagues on the town board that are as committed as I am to deliver on the issues that our residents care about most like tax relief, public safety and protecting our suburbs from Gov. Hochul’s housing plan,” DeSena said.

The town board has been noted as dysfunctional due to the fighting and lack of collaboration between the town’s Democrats and Republicans. Both sides defer blame to the other, citing that the other party does not want to work with them.

DeSena said it is time for town Democrats to govern with her, citing her re-election as proof that she represents the desires of the town.

If absentee ballots confirm the District 2 race’s current standing, included in her Republican town councilmembers will be former NYPD detective and Albertson water commissioner Scott.

Scott told Blank Slate that he’s excited to step into this position, a community role he said he’s already been taking on for the past 12 years as a community leader and water district commissioner.

“I’m going to bring 21 years of experience in law enforcement on how we can make our community safer,” Scott said. “… And we’ll bring transparency and efficient government to the Town of North Hempstead once again.”

He said DeSena’s vision as supervisor, her connection to his community and the issues she focused on inspired him to run for the District 2 seat.

Scott, who estimated he knocked on 4,000 doors, said the first thing on his mind is following what his constituents want, working with a “down-up type of operation.”

He said he believes the town board will come together with its new members, putting the people before their party.

“I’m going to be hanging my hat up at the door,” Scott told Blank Slate. “This isn’t about Republican or Democrat. I didn’t win because all Republicans voted for me. I won because my constituents in my area know the type of work and the promises that I made and will keep to them.”

Also a newly elected town Republican, Collins told Blank Slate that as receiver of taxes she plans to build off of what Berman has done in the position and bring her financial background to offer a business perspective to the role.

Collins said her first steps will be coming into the office and assessing its current standing, as well as consulting with other local receivers of taxes to source ideas for her to bring into her new role.

“It’s all about keeping an open dialogue,” Collins said.

Other notable wins for Republicans in the county were the re-election of Mazi Melesa Pilip and the election of Samantha Goetz to the Nassau County Legislature.

Pilip said the reason for her win was simple: “We talked about the issues that people care [about].”

Cairo attributed Pilip’s win to her success in Great Neck, with more than 6,000 early votes being cast for her in the area.

Goetz, who Cairo said defeated the “big giant” incumbent Legislator Josh Lafazan, attributed her win to listening to the residents and their concerns. She was applauded by Cairo for her aggressive yet “lady-like” demeanor in campaigning and securing another win for Republicans.

Goetz said she feels great after her win, feeling affirmed that her message resonated with the voters.

“We wanted to know what their concerns were and I think at the end of the day they just saw me as the candidate who’s going to listen to them and make sure that we are doing what we needed to do,” Goetz said.

As a new legislator, Goetz said she is looking to engulf herself in the process and learn the ins and outs of the role as she brings the government to the people.

While Goetz flipped the District 18 seat to red, one other county seat changed from a Republican to a Democrat legislator, maintaining a 12-7 majority. If Republicans gained another seat, they would have secured a veto-proof supermajority in the Legislature.

Presiding Officer Richard Nicolello, who is leaving his seat after 27 years, said the county Legislature is going to be “stronger than ever” with the returning nine Republicans and three new legislators.

“Now we have to get work,” Pilip said. “And that starts by listening to our residents and hearing their concerns and working with them.”

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