While there was only a Republican ripple nationally on Election Day, Long Island was hit with a tsunami like Red wave.
Democratic congressional candidates in Nassau’s third and fourth CDs, Robert Zimmerman and Laura Gillen, who were expected to easily win, went down in flames.
In Suffolk County, Nick LaLota, running for Lee Zeldin’s congressional seat, easily beat Democrat Bridget Fleming, 56% to 44%. (In 2020 Zeldin was re-elected to a fourth term with 55%.)
Republican Congressman Andrew Garbarino, who succeeded Peter King in 2020, won in a landslide, receiving 61% of votes cast.
All of Long Island’s congressional seats will be held by Republicans on Jan. 1, 2023—a feat not matched since the late 1950s.
As for Long Island’s state Senate races, Republicans made spectacular inroads. Prior to the election, the GOP held only three of nine seats. On Jan. 1, that number will be seven.
Although U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer, state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli and state Attorney General Letitia James were re-elected, they did not fare well on Long Island. Those Democrats lost Nassau and Suffolk to underfunded opponents.
Schumer, for example, was re-elected with only 56.4% of ballots cast vs. 71% six years ago. His numbers on Long Island were down significantly because voters came out in droves to vote Republican. In Suffolk, the GOP’s Joe Pinion beat Schumer 56% to 44%. Pinion carried Nassau, 52% to 48%.
Why did Democrats fare so poorly? First and foremost, Lee Zeldin ran an outstanding campaign for governor.
He did lose, but his statewide total, 47.1%, was the highest percentage a Republican challenging an incumbent Democratic governor received in 28 years.
On Long Island, Zeldin exceeded all expectations. He clobbered Gov. Kathy Hochul 59% to 41% in Suffolk and in Nassau 55% to 45%.
Zeldin did so well because he understood the concerns of Long Island’s working-class citizens—surging crime, oppressive taxes, and lousy schools.
Meanwhile, his tin-eared opponent, Hochul, a captive of the radical progressives and the unions that control Albany, could not bring herself to concede that these concerns were genuine.
Instead, Hochul spent tens of millions of campaign dollars touting one issue—abortion. This in a state that sadly has the most permissive abortion law in the nation.
Zeldin, unlike Hochul, struck a chord with Long Islanders who were fed up with “business-as-usual” Democrats. Hence, on Election Day they came out and rewarded him and his running mates.
Thanks to Zeldin, Long Island, which Democrats believed had turned Blue, particularly after Trump’s poor showing in 2020, is now mighty Red.
Will Democrats learn from the drubbing they took at the polls? I doubt it.
One of the big losers in New York on Nov. 8 was the chairman of the National Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney. He was toppled in the Hudson Valley region by a local assemblyman, Michael Lawler.
When asked by The New York Times why he lost, Maloney — get this — blamed the New York Post.
“Voters in New York,” he said, “have been told by the News Corporation machine, principally the New York Post, that crime is the No. 1 issue …. again, New York is home to the fiercest outlet in the News Corporation fear machine.”
He went on to say, “We [Democrats] struggled around the city. I don’t fully understand why.”
Well, I fully understand why Maloney lost. He, like many of his Democratic Party confreres, live in ideological bubbles divorced from reality and are incapable of grasping that rising crime does matter to voters from all walks of life.
The New York Post didn’t tell voters crime was an issue, it reported the fact that overall crime in New York City is up 38% this year. And that fact did not sit well with suburban voters, particularly those who commute to their workplace in the city.
Yes, I expect Democrats to continue denying that crime and taxes are important issues.
And it is my hope that New York Republicans take advantage of Democratic denseness and build on Zeldin’s success.
If they do succeed, it might stop the flow of New Yorkers to solid red states like Florida.