Suozzi, Kaplan, Sillitti declare victory following counting of absentee votes

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From left, U.S. Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-Glen Cove), State Sen. Anna Kaplan (D-Great Neck), and 16th Assembly District Democratic candidate Gina Sillitti of Manorhaven have declared victory in their respective races following the counting of absentee votes. (Photos courtesy of the candidates)

BY ROSE WELDON AND ROBERT PELAEZ

Riding a tide of absentee ballots, U.S. Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-Glen Cove) has won another term in the 3rd Congressional District over Republican challenger George Santos of Queens.

In other races, state Sen. Anna Kaplan (D-Great Neck) claimed victory in the 7th Senate District and Gina Sillitti, a Democrat from Manorhaven, declared victory in the 16th Assembly District.

Democratic President-elect Joe Biden built a lead over Republican President Donald Trump in Nassau County as tens of thousands of absentee ballots were counted after initially trailing in the votes cast on Election Day.

Nassau Democratic Elections Commissioner James Scheuerman said weeks ago that 142,962 absentee ballots were cast in Nassau County this year during the COVID-19 pandemic, a figure that shattered the previous record of 48,000 in 2016. Mailed ballots began to be counted Nov. 10 under state law.

CONGRESSIONAL RACES

While vote counts immediately following Election Day placed Santos, a financial professional, ahead of Suozzi by more than 4,000 votes, absentee ballots gave Suozzi a final total of 122,931 votes to Santos’ 96,578 in Nassau County and the borough of Queens. Suffolk County has yet to announce its final results, though following Election Day Santos led there by over 3,900 votes.

Santos thanked his supporters in a statement issued Tuesday. 

“Due to the hard work and determination of our grassroots supporters and donors, our campaign defied the odds by coming very close to winning New York’s 3rd Congressional race,” Santos said. “There may be more announcements coming from me in the near future regarding next steps, but for right now, I would like to congratulate Congressman Tom Suozzi. We wish him well going forward for the benefit of our district and constituents.”

Suozzi said in a statement Tuesday that Santos had called to concede that morning. 

“It is a great honor to serve as a member of Congress, and I look forward to continuing to work on behalf of the people I represent,” Suozzi said. “Our nation faces tremendous challenges and the division is distracting us from accomplishing our goals. I will work to try and bridge the divide and address the COVID pandemic, our unstable economy, the climate crisis and the need to rebuild our middle class. I will never stop fighting for Long Island and Queens and the people of our state and country.”

The former mayor of Glen Cove and former Nassau County executive will serve a third term in office in the district representing Manhasset, Roslyn, Port Washington, Great Neck and Floral Park, among other areas, and stretching from Whitestone, Queens, to Kings Park in Suffolk County.

In the 4th Congressional District, U.S. Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-Garden City) continued to lead Town of Hempstead Engineering Commissioner and Republican Douglas Tuman of West Hempstead, following her declaration of victory on Nov. 4, with 54 percent of the vote to Tuman’s 45 percent. She received 169,481 votes to Tuman’s 141,636 so far. 

Neither campaign responded to a request for comment, and it is not known if Tuman has conceded. 

The 4th Congressional District is situated in central and southern Nassau County, and includes Floral Park, Mineola, Garden City, New Hyde Park, Hempstead, Carle Place and Westbury. If declared the winner, Rice will serve a fourth two-year term.

STATE LEGISLATURE RACES

In the 7th Senate District, Kaplan defeated challenger and former Port Washington Police Commissioner David Franklin. The incumbent senator finished with 77,836 votes, over 55 percent, to Franklin’s 62,169, or 44 percent.

Franklin thanked his team and congratulated Kaplan in a statement Tuesday night, saying that the absentee vote count “fell far short of my expectations and hopes, and it was time to bow out.”

“In the end we will have amassed well over 60,000 votes,” Franklin said. “As a candidate unknown outside of Port Washington that is humbling to me. Perhaps even more humbling is the fact that we had 80 volunteers making calls, doing lit drops at homes and planting signs all over the district. I had fun campaigning, meeting people all throughout the district as we knocked on doors to find out what the needs of the public were. The fellow candidates I encountered along the way are now friends. This was a great experience for me, and though it didn’t turn out the way we planned we left everything on the field. No regrets, no second guessing. Thanks to all who voted, volunteered, supported and prayed for me. You are forever in my heart.”

Kaplan said in a statement Tuesday that Franklin had called her to concede that afternoon.

“This afternoon I received a call from Dave Franklin, who graciously called to concede and to offer his congratulations on my re-election,” Kaplan said. “We had a nice chat, and I thanked him for his call and for running a spirited campaign. Once again, I am extremely humbled and grateful to the voters of Nassau County for placing their trust in me to be their Senator for two more years. I promise I won’t let you down!”

Kaplan, who first won against then-incumbent Elaine Phillips of Flower Hill in 2018, will serve a second two-year term representing the areas of Floral Park, New Hyde Park, Williston Park, Mineola, Garden City Park, North Hills, Albertson, Old Westbury, East Hills, Roslyn, Roslyn Harbor, Roslyn Estates, Albertson, Searingtown, Lake Success, Manhasset, Munsey Park, Plandome, Plandome Heights, Plandome Manor, and the entireties of the Great Neck and Port Washington peninsulas.

In the 13th Assembly District, Assemblyman Charles Lavine (D-Glen Cove), continued to lead attorney and Republican candidate Andrew Monteleone of Syosset by 62 percent of the vote to Monteleone’s 37 percent. Lavine received 26,065 votes to his opponent’s 19,419. 

Lavine, who serves as chair of the Assembly Election Law Committee, turned his attention to vote tabulators in a statement to Blank Slate Media.

“Every American should be proud of the critically important service provided by our fellow citizens who collect, analyze and tabulate our ballots,” Lavine said. “I am extraordinarily proud of the work of these fine people.  Those engaged in the arduous task of protecting our democracy have been unfairly criticized by demagogues seeking to cynically and corruptly demean the voting process.  It is time for every American of good faith to recognize and acknowledge the great work performed by those who safeguard and count our ballots in the most difficult of times.”

He did not comment on the outcome of his race, and a request for comment to the Monteleone campaign was not returned. 

The district includes Roslyn, Greenvale, Sea Cliff, Glen Cove and parts of East Hills and Westbury, and if declared the winner Lavine will serve an eighth term.

In the 16th Assembly District, Sillitti, a 20-year government employee, overtook Republican candidate and small-business owner Ragini Srivastava of Manhasset Hills once the absentee ballots were counted after trailing the day after the election. 

Totals from the Nassau County Board of Elections showed that Sillitti had received 35,153 votes, or 53 percent, to Srivastava’s 30,093, or 45 percent.

Sillitti declared victory in a statement to Blank Slate Media on Wednesday morning.

“I am grateful to the voters of the 16th Assembly District for their confidence in electing me to be their voice in Albany,” Sillitti said. “I’m ready to get to work to help Long Islanders overcome the COVID-19 pandemic, rebuild our economy, and unify our community. Thank you also to the election workers that worked the long hours to make this election happen for all of us and ensure every vote was counted. This was an unprecedented election and they are the unsung heroes still working every day.”

A request for comment from the Srivastava campaign was not immediately returned. 

The district includes Great Neck, Port Washington, Manhasset, Roslyn Heights, North Hills, Flower Hill, Lake Success, Baxter Estates, Manorhaven and Sands Point. Sillitti will succeed two-term Assemblyman Anthony D’Urso (D-New Hyde Park), who announced in January that he would not seek re-election.

In the 19th Assembly District, Assemblyman Edward Ra (R-Garden City) continued to lead attorney and retired Army Lt. Col. Gary Port of West Hempstead. Ra received 35,641 votes, or 62 percent, and Port received 21,684, or 37 percent. 

Neither candidate had declared victory or conceded as of Wednesday morning, and requests for comment to both campaigns were unavailing.

The district includes Glen Head, Old Brookville, Old Westbury, New Hyde Park, Williston Park, Garden City Park, Garden City South, Garden City and Mineola, and if decided in Ra’s favor will mean a sixth two-year term in the Assembly.

NATIONAL RACE

After initial election night results had him down by more than 6,000 votes, Biden had a commanding lead over Trump in Nassau County, winning by nearly 40,000 votes as absentee ballots continued to be counted.

As of Wednesday, Biden received 348,355 votes, or 52.3 percent, compared with Trump’s 308,765, or 46.4 percent.

Libertarian candidate Jo Jorgensen received 3,272 votes, Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins received 1,704 votes, Independent candidate Brock Pierce received 1,715 votes, and 1,847 write-in votes were submitted in Nassau County.

After trailing Trump early, Biden’s results now correlate with two previous presidential elections. In 2016, Trump received 292,025, or 44.7 percent, of Nassau County votes, compared with Hillary Clinton’s 350,570, or 50.8 percent, according to Board of Elections figures.  In 2012, President Barack Obama won Nassau County with 302,695 votes, or 53 percent, compared with Republican Mitt Romney’s 282,131, or 45.4 percent.

Lawrence Levy, executive dean of the National Center for Suburban Studies at Hofstra University said before the election that the country’s suburbs “have determined the winner of every presidential race, with the possible exception of one in 2012.”

“The winner in the suburbs has gone on to win the White House and the party that has won more suburban seats in Congress goes out to control the gavel there,” Levy said. “So this race is really about who can take the suburbs.”

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