WEEKEND EDITION

Election Changes Little in NJ and NYC, but Power Shifts on Long Island

| November 9, 2011 12:30 PM

New Jersey Gov Chris Christie hoped to end a Democratic majority in the State Legislature in the Nov. 8 election. Democrats held control of the Assembly and Senate, which Republicans say is due to a partisan legislative map. AP/Julio Cortez.

The Nov. 8 general election did not bring about a political sea change. In fact, it brought about very little change at all. Despite New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s push to flip several critical seats, New Jersey Democrats maintained their majority in the state legislature. On Staten Island, the incumbent district attorney easily won the only significantly challenged race in New York City. However, Democrats did score an important win in Suffolk County, where Steve Bellone was elected county executive.

New Jersey

New Jersey Democrats have kept a majority in the legislature for the past seven years, and this year will be no different. Republicans were hoping that Christie’s popularity would help swing a couple of key Democratic seats in the State Assembly and Senate, reported the Star-Ledger, but that didn’t happen. Senate Democrats held their 24-16 majority, and gained one seat in the Assembly. Many Republicans say the recent decennial redistricting process created a legislative map that continues to favor Democrats. However, Christie has managed to push key GOP initiatives past the legislature, including lowering the property tax cap and cutting public workers’ benefits,  since he took office in 2009, reported the New York Times.

New York City

Three of New York City’s five district attorneys were up for reelection this year, but only one, Staten Island Republican Daniel Donovan, was considered a real race, reported the Staten Island Advance. The election had been uncertain, due to some surprising endorsements: Borough President James Molinaro – head of Staten Island’s mighty Conservative Party — endorsed Ryan after a falling out with Donovan; and Democratic City Council Speaker Christine Quinn refused to endorse Ryan, much to the delight of Conservative Party leaders. No change on the island, however. Donovan easily won a third term, beating Democrat Michael Ryan by a landslide.

Suffolk County

Pro-business Democrat Steve Bellone received 57 percent of the vote against Republican County Treasurer Angie Carpenter in Suffolk County, ending a rocky recent political history on Long Island, reported the New York Times. Bellone, who pledged to make government more efficient, succeeded Democrat-turned-GOPer Steve Levy. Levy ran an unsuccessful race for governor last year, and dropped his third-term bid for county executive after becoming embroiled in a scandal over his questionable fundraising tactics. Bellone’s campaign was given a tremendous boost after receiving endorsements from Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Newsday.

Westchester

In Yonkers, Democrat Mike Spano beat Republican incumbent John Murtagh with 56 percent of the vote, reported News 12. It was Spano’s second attempt at running for mayor.

In other Westchester elections news, Democrats are anxiously awaiting to learn whether they’ll hold onto the supermajority they’ve enjoyed in the legislature for the past two years. Now, it all depends on County District 3, where the race was too close to call and there will be a recount, reported the Journal-News.

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