This past Tuesday’s elections in New York State generally had a positive outcome for the Conservative and Republican Parties. Without any election being certified, it would appear that the Democratic Party was swept out of office in the Nassau County town of Hempstead, the largest town in the nation with a population of 770,000 people.
The GOP/Conservative alliance solidly held the town of Oyster Bay, with the end result being 75 percent of local government in Nassau is under GOP/Conservative leadership. There were other larger towns and cities such as Yorktown in Westchester County and the city of Canandaigua in upstate Ontario County that also saw entire Democratically-controlled governments completely flip.
There are important too-close-to-call elections in places like the town of Colonie in Albany County and the District Attorney’s Office in Ulster County. The county government in Clinton County flipped Republican and the same is likely to happen in Cayuga County when the recount is completed. It is also worth noting that in many places including Dutchess County, Broome County (Binghamton) and Onondaga County (Syracuse), the Republican/Conservative GOP control was renewed.
Even in the city, the GOP and Conservatives won a Civil Court seat on the Democratic majority North Shore of Staten Island. I suspect the newly elected Democratic County leader Assemblymember Michael Cusick was not expecting to start his tenure with such a loss.
This is not to say the Democratic Party was shut out. It held important county executive offices against fierce competition in Suffolk and Erie County, plus, for only the second time in over 80 years, it won the county executive spot in Monroe County.
Early voting was generally successful although it is expensive. There are some bugs that need to be worked out — all easily correctable. One interesting outcome of early voting will likely be permanent absentee ballots and military ballots making up a greater percentage of the post-election votes counted. These have in the past leaned Republican. If that remains the case, the GOP will have the advantage on very close races.
I have one other take-away. High taxes and the liberal concessions made this past year in an effort to reform the criminal justice system hurt the Democratic Party. In elections for district attorney where it was thought the GOP incumbent or challenger would lose, it now appears that the GOP candidate won.
I suspect the heavy media coverage of the state releasing 900 jailed individuals and the mayor giving them free Mets tickets did not go unnoticed in these races. In Hempstead, Democrats and Republicans both agree that high property taxes were the issue.
Turnout, even with early voting, was incredibly low in New York City. It’s true that there was very little on the ballot. Arguably, the five propositions should have garnered more attention inasmuch as they will have a substantial effect on city governance.
If you looked at the proposals beforehand, they appeared very confusing as a result of many seemingly unrelated issues being combined. That could have been a turnoff. Then again, I do not believe there is ever an excuse for not voting.
As Howie Rose is famous for saying at the conclusion of each Mets game, “Put it in the books.” The 2019 election is behind us. There is no doubt in my mind that turnout will not be an issue in 2020, but issues as well as character will be, in the literally thousands of major elections that will be taking place across the nation.
I heard Dr. Ben Carson speak at a New York State GOP event held last week at the Union League Club in Manhattan. Without going into detail, I would recommend, if you have an opportunity to hear him, take advantage. He is very inspiring.
The housing secretary did not speak about housing nor did he give an overtly political talk. Instead, he related current events and issues to his own experiences. He has seen a great deal and done a great deal in his life. His medical, political and governmental careers are filled with notations that he was the first in so many areas. A life well lived is how I would sum up Dr. Carson.