Dems pick up seats
Suffolk County Legis. Monica Martinez gives an emotional speech after being elected 3rd District state senator last Tuesday. [

IB/Finnegan

Dems pick up seats

Story By: GLENN ROHRBACKER
11/8/2018


HAUPPAUGE—It was quiet just before 9 p.m. on election night at the IBEW Hall in Hauppauge, where Suffolk County Democrats gathered to wait for the election results. That would soon change as a steady stream of anxious candidates and supporters began streaming in.

“It’s going to be a very interesting night,” said Joe Fritz of Brentwood as he glanced toward the oversized white board listing the returns. He wasn’t wrong.

As the board lit up, a crowd gathered around, staring pensively as the numbers began flashing across the screen. The tension was palpable.

Thomas Murray of Bayport, who ran for Assembly in the 7th District against Andrew Garbarino, didn’t seem concerned.

“We gave it a good run and we’ll see what happens,” he said. However, as the gap in numbers widened, it was soon obvious he would not win the seat.

Rosibel Granada of Brentwood said she had worked hard on the Monica Martinez campaign for the 3rd District Senate race. “I’m feeling very positive about it,” she remarked. And as the numbers changed in Martinez’s favor, she and other supporters, who were unable to contain their excitement, began chanting “Monica,” which reverberated throughout the room.

Rich Schaffer, Suffolk Democratic leader, said he was thrilled with the results, locally and nationally as well. “We took back the House and the New York State Senate has gone Democrat,” he said.

There were disappointments, though.  Christine Pellegrino of West Islip lost her 9th District Assembly seat. During her concession speech, she noted that her opponent had run a negative campaign. “We ran a campaign on issues that affect all of us,” she said. “They might have won this battle, but it is not over.”

By the end of the evening, Dems picked up some key positions in the county and the state, including a big win for surrogate judge Theresa Whelan, after a somewhat prickly contest. “Who would have thought the surrogate court race would attract so much attention?” remarked Schaffer.

Schaffer said the Democratic state Senate was “great news. The Senate will have smart suburban Democrats that will be part of the leadership team,” he added.

The big win of the night was indeed Martinez. In an emotional speech, where she thanked family, friends and all of her supporters, the senator-elect vowed to legislate for her constituents.

“I’m looking forward to protecting Suffolk County,” she said. “I promise to be your voice. 

“Albany – here I come.”

“I think we’ve had a pretty good night in Suffolk County,” Schaffer added.