Anthony Santino lost his bid for re-election as Town of Hempstead supervisor despite outspending his opponent, Laura Gillen, by a million dollars.
The incumbent Republican received a little over $1,081,000 in contributions for the election, of which he spent about $1,034,000, according to the New York State Board of Elections. Gillen, the first Democrat to win the position in over 100 years, raised a little over $94,000 in contributions and spent about $31,000.
Nassau County Democratic Chairman Jay Jacobs said a lot of the money Gillen’s campaign spent came from the party. He said the Democrats felt with the mood of the electorate, the party could come together for an “unlikely victory.”
The Gillen campaign did not have the resources to target the whole town, which makes up half the county, Jacobs said. Instead, Jacobs said he advised Gillen’s campaign to focus on areas with persuadable Republican voters.
Gillen sent out mailers in strategic areas and also had TV ads late in the campaign, according to Jacobs.
Attempts to reach Gillen’s campaign were unavailing.
Many Republican voters were unhappy with Santino, Jacobs said. All Gillen had to do was convince them they had a viable alternative.
“They were already predisposed to firing Santino,” Jacobs said. “We had to get them to, No. 1, pull the trigger and then to vote for Gillen.”
Santino’s office and Nassau County Republican Chairman Joseph Mondello did not respond to requests for comment.
Gillen’s running mate, Sylvia Cabana, who was elected as Town of Hempstead clerk, raised $23,550. Her opponent, Republican incumbent Nasgrin Ahmad, raised $74,308 more.
“You don’t have to match your opponent dollar for dollar,” said Jacobs. “You have to spend your money wisely.”