In New York, Democrats Now Control Senate, Assembly and Governor’s Seat

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The state capital building in Albany, New York.

Nationally a blue wave failed to crest, but on Tuesday New York State held onto its navy roots, re-electing Governor Andrew Cuomo to a third term alongside Lieutenant Governor Kathy C. Hochul. With Democrats capturing a majority of the State Senate on Tuesday, and retaining their hold over the State Assembly, the party now controls all three levels of state government in Albany— a power that could have both negative and positive impacts for residents of the East End, according to Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr., an Independence party member who also ran successfully on the Democratic Party line.

Mr. Thiele of Noyac easily won re-election on Tuesday, capturing 27,115 or 59.8 percent of the 45,335 ballots cast in the First Assembly District. His Republican challenger, Patrick O’Connor of Shinnecock Hills, earned 18,213 votes.

While the State Senate may have turned blue Tuesday night, longtime Republican State Senator Kenneth P. LaValle of Port Jefferson easily won re-election to his seat, winning 65,933 or 58.3 percent of the votes cast compared to 47,084 in favor of his Democratic Party challenger, Gregory Fischer of Calverton.

On Wednesday morning, Mr. Thiele said that while progressive policies for health care, campaign finance reform and legislation to protect Dreamers in New York State will be considered more seriously by a Democratically controlled Senate, voters here may find Albany focused more on New York City issues than their own.

“The Democratic majority is in the City of New York and the last time the Democrats controlled all three levels of government,” Mr. Thiele said, “there were serious issues for residents on Long Island including impacts to school aid, the MTA tax and issues with our salt water fishing licenses.”

He added, “I think our role changes for the suburban members of the Assembly. There are a lot of us that have seniority and positions, but we will have to double out efforts to ensure Long Island and the suburbs in general are protected. The state is more than the City of New York.”

Conversations about single-payer healthcare will be entertained “more seriously” by the majority, he said. “Issues like the Dream Act, with education benefits for Dreamers; voting reform, with a look at early voting and same-day registration and campaign finance reform, like ending loopholes for limited liability corporations, all have the potential to be taken more seriously.”

Locally, Mr. Thiele said he hoped legislation he sponsored that was previously blocked by the Senate — including remedies for mobile home owners facing what he called “unconscionable rents” and legislation to prevent the zone pricing of gasoline — may have new life under the new majority.

“So, it is a two-sided coin — there are some progressive and reform initiatives I support that will see the light of day; and on the other hand, this has the potential to shift power away from Long Island and upstate and to New York City.”

Another historic race in New York came with the election of Letitia James as attorney general. Ms. James, a Democrat, took 50.8 percent of the vote Tuesday night to best Republican Keith Wofford. A public advocate for New York City, Ms. James is the first African-American woman elected to statewide office, the first African-American to serve as attorney general and the first woman to be elected to the position.

Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand was re-elected as a U.S. senator representing New York in Congress, earning her second, elected six-year term. Democrat Thomas Di Napoli was also returned as state comptroller.

Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman narrowly lost his bid to unseat Republican John Kennedy Jr. for the position of Suffolk County comptroller. Mr. Schneiderman earned 238,067 votes to Mr. Kennedy’s 246,690 votes.

As of Wednesday morning, Mr. Schneiderman said he planned to offer his concession later that day despite outstanding absentee ballots that he said tend the break in favor of the East End and Democrats.

“I’m happy with the campaign,” he said. “A lot of people thought I had no chance.”

Mr. Schneiderman added he loves his position as town supervisor and would have been “a little sad” if he had won the comptroller race.

“I am so humble and so proud to be representing this community,” he said.

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