Suffolk County Democrats will likely experience a harrowing loss in this year’s election after several near-defeats in the polls as of Wednesday morning.
However, Suffolk County Democratic Chairman Rich Schaffer said it’s too early to determine any results, because many absentee ballots have yet to be counted.
While most Democratic contenders were trailing as of Wednesday morning, Schaffer said, the blue party typically receives more votes via absentee ballots than Republicans.
“We always knew Republicans vote on Election Day and Democrats vote via absentee ballots,” Schaffer said. “There’s about 140,00 to 150,000 absentee ballots cast that have to be opened by Democrats and Republican representatives at the Board of Elections. Once [those] are opened and tallied, I believe some of these results will be different.”
As of Wednesday morning, incumbent Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley) was defeating challenger Nancy Goroff for the 1st Congressional District seat in the House of Representatives.
Goroff, a scientist who has taught at Stony Brook University for the last 23 years, received only 38 percent of the vote, to Zeldin’s 61 percent vote, according to unofficial election results from the Suffolk County Board of Elections.
Early in the evening, the Suffolk County Democratic Committee hosted a watch party on Zoom, where Goroff expressed her appreciation for her team’s effort in her campaign.
“Thank you to everyone for all your efforts,” she wrote at 9:46 p.m. “The teamwork has been outstanding.”
Wednesday’s results showed incumbent Monica Martinez (D-Brentwood), who sought reelection for the state’s 3rd Senatorial District, losing by a wide margin to Republican competitor Alexis Weik of Sayville.
Martinez, who attended the Democratic committee meeting but did not speak, obtained 43 percent of the vote to Weik’s 56 percent, as per the Suffolk County Board of Elections.
The 1st Senatorial District, which covers the eastern end of Suffolk, including the towns of East Hampton, Southold, Shelter Island, Southampton, and Riverhead and some of eastern Brookhaven, will likely go red.
Laura Ahearn of Port Jefferson only nailed down 42 percent of the vote in the 1st Senatorial District on Wednesday. She was losing to incumbent Anthony Palumbo (R-New Suffolk) by well over 10,000 votes.
Ahearn, a licensed attorney and social worker who founded nonprofits Crime Victims Center and Ronkonkoma-based Parents for Megan’s Law nearly 25 years ago, said that she was impressed by the community’s commitment to her campaign, noting that northern Brookhaven Town “rose to the level.”
“I feel like no matter what I say, I’m never going to give the folks who have been around helping us credit where credit is due,” Ahearn said Tuesday night. “This is like putting together a little mini corporation. … We just had an amazing synergy among all of us.” Ahearn said she was grateful for the support of her fellow Democratic candidates on her journey.
Newcomer Steve Polgar will likely not get a seat in the state’s third Assembly District after obtaining only 36 percent of the vote compared to incumbent Joseph De Stefano (R, C, I-Medford) who received 62 percent of the vote.
Regardless, Polgar said he’s proud of his “grassroots campaign” and his team’s effort to release campaign ads in his area.
“We didn’t think we were going to be able to do any mailers, but we’ve been able to send out 70,000 postcard mailers,” Polgar said. Cheering could be heard in the background as he spoke. “So we’re pretty excited, we’ve definitely made issues in our community, so we’re definitely happy with what we’ve done and we’re excited to see the results.”
Incumbent Fred Thiele (D, I-Sag Harbor), who has held his position in the 1st Assembly District for several years, was the only Democrat on the South Shore that obtained the majority vote as of Wednesday.
Thiele obtained 53 percent of votes, while Republican and Conservative competitor Heather Collins obtained 46 percent. Collins was not actively campaigning.
Francis Genco, 67, who also was not actively campaigning but appeared on the Democratic Party line, was losing in his race against Jarett Gandolfo (R, C, I-Sayville) for a seat in New York’s 7th Assembly District. As of Wednesday, Gandolfo obtained 65 percent of the vote to Genco’s 34 percent.
As the results continued to shuffle in, Schaffer said he told the Democratic candidates “to give the Board of Elections time to do what they do best: count all the votes in a bipartisan fashion.”
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