Fordham Law

Obama, Democrats win federal, judicial races; GOP sweeps state seats

Fordham Law Alum John J. Leo in The Observer, November 09, 2012

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Huntington’s incumbents held serve Election Day, federal and state legislators easily winning re-election, but the local story Tuesday, November 6 was the election of Huntington Town Attorney John Leo to the New York State Supreme Court.

Mr. Leo was one of a dozen candidates, six Democrats, five Republicans, and a Conservative, running for six, 14-year terms as New York State Supreme Court Judges in the 10th Judicial District in Nassau and Suffolk counties. Five of the six judgeships were won by Democrats, two of whom are from Suffolk County, while the sixth was won by Republican incumbent Peter Skelos. Republican incumbent Judge James Catterson, Jr. was defeated in his bid for re-election. The field was led by the two Suffolk Democrats. Richard Ambro, of Baiting Hollow, the son of former Huntington Town Supervisor and Congressman the late Jerome Ambro, receiving 440,201 votes and Mr. Leo, of Eaton’s Neck, received 439,190 to be re-elected. Also elected were Nassau Democrats Leonard Austin, an incumbent, Sondra Pardes and Leonard Steinman.

Suffolk County Democrats gathered at the Islandia Marriott Tuesday night to tally the vote. At about 11:15 p.m. television networks projected the re-election of President Obama and the crowd erupted into celebration, chanting “Obama, Obama…” and “four more  years, four more  years…”

Soon after that celebration died down, Suffolk County Democratic Party Chairman Richard Schaffer, also Babylon Town Supervisor, entered the ballroom in blue jeans and sneakers. He apologized for his attire, said he has been wrapped up in the response to Hurricane Sandy, and made an urgent appeal to the assembly to donate to the American Red Cross.

Mr. Leo was introduced as a winner shortly before midnight and he was ecstatic about the outcome of the election.

“I came in to the night hoping I would win,” Mr. Leo said. “I am humbled by it—by the responsibility given me and by all of the family and friends who worked so hard to help get me elected.”

“I’m also happy that I will be taking on the judicial robes with my Suffolk County running mate and friend Richard Ambro,” Mr. Leo said.

As for the rest of the ticket, President Barack Obama led a Democratic party sweep on Long Island in the federal races. The Obama/Vice President Joe Biden ticket won in both Suffolk and Nassau counties as did United States Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. President Obama received 274,830 votes 50.75% in Suffolk County compared to 47.89% for Republican challenger Mitt Romney and 243,649 votes (52.81%) in Nassau County, once the most Republican county in the United States, compared to 212,882 votes (46.15%)  for Mr. Romney. In Suffolk County Ms. Gillibrand received 324,070 votes (63.31%) and in Nassau County she received 278,717 (63.58%) while Republican challengger Wendy Long received 181,308 votes (35.42%) in Suffolk and 155,315 votes (35.43%) in Nassau.

In addition, Suffolk County’s two Democratic members of the House of Representatives, Congressman Steve Israel and Congressman Timothy Bishop won re-election. In the new Third Congressional District, which takes in parts of Nassau County in which he ran for the first time, Rep. Israel, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), won with 114,085 votes (56.18%) while Republican challenger Stephen Labate received 87,745 votes (43.21%). Mr. Israel received 51,903 votes in Suffolk and 62,180 in Nassau while Mr. Labate received 39,363 in Suffolk and 48,382 in Nassau.

“I’m honored to have been elected in this new district,” Congressman Israel said. “It’s been a very tough week in our community and I know the election was the last thing on most people’s minds. But I think it really shows how strong our community is.”

“People didn’t have power, they didn’t know where to vote, they didn’t have gas to get to the polls, but they still got out and exercised their civic duty,” Rep. Israel said. “I’m proud of the way our community has weathered this storm and I am humbled to represent them in Congress. Now Democrats and Republicans must join together to rebuild our community, restore its power lines and reenergize the middle class.”

In the First Congressional District, Mr. Bishop received 132,525 votes, or 52.14% and his Republican challenger Randy Altschuler had 121,478, or 47.79% in unofficial results posted on the Suffolk County Board of Elections website. “They didn’t bet against me, they bet against you,” he said. “They bet against the middle class families of this district.”

Republicans swept the four legislative races in Huntington, State Senators John Flanagan and Carl Marcellino easily winning re-election against little-known Democratic incumbents and Assemblyman Andrew Raia who was re-elected running unopposed with 36,259 votes (99.67%). In the race to replace former Assemblyman the late James Conte in the 10th Assembly District, Republican Chad Lupinacci, a member of the South Huntington School Board, won with 24,502 votes (55.59%) while his Democratic opponent Joe Dujmic received 19,554 votes (44.36%).

In state legislative district races, Senator John Flanagan received 74,786 votes, or 67.96%. His opponent, Dr. Errol Toulon, Jr., who backed out of the race, received 35,216 votes, or 32%. In the Fifth State Senate District, which includes most of Northport, Mr. Marcellino received 64,398 votes while  his opponent, Democrat David Wright received 42,573 votes.

In the race for District Court Judge in Huntington Karen Kerr, the former Northport Village prosecuting attorney, won running unopposed with 70,786 votes.