Here’s my take on this year’s winners and losers in the game of politics.
Tom DiNapoli: The state comptroller, who lives in Great Neck, was elected to a fourth consecutive term. Receiving 57% of votes cast, he was, once again, the top statewide vote getter. That margin of victory probably doesn’t sit well with U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer, who ran behind DiNapoli.
Lee Zeldin: Although he lost the governor’s race, he’s a winner in my book. Zeldin ran an excellent campaign. Unlike his tone-deaf opponent, Gov. Kathy Hochul, he grasped the key issue for voters — crime. For an off-year election, Long Island voters turned out in droves to support him and the rest of the Republican ticket. Thanks to Zeldin’s candidacy, New York’s expanded GOP congressional delegation will provide the votes that give the party the majority needed to elect Kevin McCarthy speaker of the House in January.
George Santos: The underfunded Republican 3rd Congressional District candidate, who was abandoned by Nassau’s GOP organization, shocked the establishment by winning with 54.1% of votes cast. He owes a debt of gratitude to the top of the ticket, Lee Zeldin.
Anthony D’Esposito: The Republican machine put a major effort into the 4th Congressional District. Running against a formidable candidate, Democrat Laura Gillen, D’ Esposito squeaked by, winning 51.9% to 48.1%
Jack Martins: He is the “comeback kid.” Martins easily beat incumbent Democratic Sen. Anna Kaplan, thus reclaiming the seat he gave up to unsuccessfully run for Congress in 2016. His opposition to cashless bail struck a chord with voters.
Andrew Garbino: The congressman who succeeded political icon Peter King two years ago was re-elected in a landslide. He received 61% vs. challenger Jackie Gordon’s 39%. In Suffolk County, Garbino beat his opponent by 21% and in Nassau he won by a whopping 45%.
Joe Cairo: The Republican county chairman can take a deep victory bow. His ground game and Zeldin’s coattails turned Nassau solid red on Nov. 8. The GOP picked up two congressional seats and three state Senate seats. That’s the best showing in years.
Jay Jacobs: The Democratic Party chairman has had two bad years. In 2021 his insouciant leadership cost incumbent Laura Curran the Nassau County executive post. This year Democrats lost congressional, state Senate and Assembly seats throughout New York. And all the statewide candidates — Kathy Hochul, Chuck Schumer, Letitia James and Tom DiNapoli — lost Nassau County. The dismal results explain why 1,100 Democratic activists have called on Jacobs to resign.
Ed Mangano: The former Nassau executive is doing time in a federal prison.
Rob Walker: The former Nassau County deputy county executive is doing time in a federal prison.
Robert Zimmerman: The Democratic National Committeeman, friendly with many in the Nassau Republican organization, was expected to win in a walk the congressional seat Tom Suozzi was vacating. However, Republican George Santos handily beat Zimmerman because he appealed to voters opposed to cashless bail, lax enforcement of criminal codes, and prison depopulation. In the Queens County part of the district, the Asian community concerned about the surge in crime came out for Santos.
Anna Kaplan: Saddled with the New York Democratic Party’s radical leftist agenda, the two-term senator was easily beaten by Jack Martins. Kaplan learned the hard way that abortion was not the defining issue this year.