Long Island voters in Nassau and Suffolk counties Tuesday trended Democratic, with Democrats retaking the Suffolk County Executive's post and upping their seats in the Nassau County Legislature. They regained control of the Long Beach City Council.
But both counties will continue to face problems with budget woes and Nassau, already under supervision by Albany, could face bankruptcy.
In Suffolk, Babylon Supervisor Steve Bellone, 42, a Democrat, won a landslide victory over Republican County Treasurer Angie Carpenter, 67, to succeed Steve Levy, 52, a Democrat-turned-Republican who tried to run for governor and was forced to retire after a fundraising scandal.
Bellone had a substantial fundraising lead as well as the endorsement of Newsday. Levy had twice won landslide elections as a Democrat.
In Nassau, Republican County Executive Ed Mangano, 49, who won an upset against Thomas Suozzi in 2009, wasn't on the ballot. But Republicans, who control the Nassau Legislature 11 to 8 now, lost at least one seat in the Elmont area, where newcomer Carrie Solages, a Democrat, became the first Haitian-American to be elected on Long Island. He defeated veteran Republican John Ciotti.
But two more races were too close to call and will depend upon absentee ballots: in the Glen Cove area, Republican Robert Germino leads Democrat Diana DeRiggi-Whitton by 37 votes and in the Seaford-Massapequa area, Republican incumbent Joseph Belesi is holding his seat by 51 votes over Democrat Eva Pearson.
Due to the financial crisis, Nassau is under supervision by Albany through an appointed Nassau Interim Finance Authority (NIFA), which has demanded budget cuts and tax hikes to balance Mangano's $2.6 billion budget.
Mangano rammed through his budget last month by cutting police precincts, selling LI Bus and closing agencies and museums in moves NIFA suggested were not enough because he declined to raise taxes. The county could still face bankruptcy by Dec. 31 should NIFA insist.
Democrats spent heavily to win back seats in the Nassau Legislature In Elmont, they won with Solages but lost in the Five Towns where Republican Howard Kopel kept the seat he won first in 2009.
All three Nassau Towns re-elected supervisors, with Hempstead's Kate Murray and Oyster Bay's John Venditto, both Republicans, winning in landslides. In North Hempstead, Supervisor Jon Kaiman, a Democrat, won a narrower victory this time over Republican Lee Tu, a Taiwanese-American who has never held any public office, in a rematch from 2009.
Kaiman, 49, could be tipped as the 2013 Democratic County Executive candidate against Mangano. In North Hempstead, an Iranian-American, Anna Monahemi Kaplan, 46, a Democrat, easily won an open Town Council seat in the Great Neck area, becoming the first Iranian native on Long Island to win a seat outside a village or library board.
But Kaiman Democratic ally Fred Pollack, lost his Town Council seat to Dina DeGiorgio, a Republican.
In Suffolk, where Levy's $2.7 billion budget for 2012 has run into problems, Democrats apparently retained their 12 to 6 hold on the County Legislature, where three Democrats retired.
On Wednesday, Democrat Robert Calarco of Patchogue led Republican John Gianott of Bellport by 103 votes for an open Democratic seat; Democrat William (Doc) Spencer led Republican Elizabeth Black by 179 votes for another open seat in the Lloyd Harbor area.
Suffolk Democratic chairman Richard Schaffer said he was confident the Democrats would prevail.
Seven Suffolk towns elected supervisors, including Islip, Southold and East Hampton. In Islip, Republican Tom Croci held a narrow lead over Democratic Supervisor Phil Nolan to regain control over a traditionally Republican town.
Republicans won three other Suffolk town supervisor seats, while Brookhaven and Southampton stayed Democratic. In Shelter Island, Conservative Glenn Waddington defeated Democrat James Dougherty to become the Island's only Conservative supervisor.
Meanwhile, Nassau and Suffolk voters jointly elected 10 justices to the State Supreme Court. Most candidates were current or former judges including John Riordan, a Democrat who served 10 years as Nassau County Surrogate Judge, and Joseph Pastoressa, a Republican appointed by former Gov. George Pataki to the Court of Claims.
Jerome Murphy, a son-in-law of former Sen. Alfonse D'Amato, a Republican defeated in 1998, was also a Republican, Conservative and Independence nominee for Supreme Court. He is currently a lawyer in private practice.
In both counties, the overall Republican slate appeared to have outpolled the Democrats for the Supreme Court seats.