Three Republican candidates were running for Long Beach City Council this time around — challengers Chris Fiumara, Brendan Finn and Mike Reinhart.
The trio announced victory Tuesday night, amassing the most votes against their competitors — Democrats James Hodge, Tina Posterli and Liz Treston.
According to unofficial vote totals, Finn received 4,639, Fiumara, 4,491, and Reinhart, 4,462.
The three will kick off their terms at the first council meeting of 2024, in January.
Mike Reinhart grew up in Queens, but spent lots of time in Long Beach, playing in beach volleyball leagues and tournaments. He eventually decided he wanted to live there, and moved to the city 25 years ago.
“I mean, this is unbelievable,” Reinhart said on Tuesday after declaring victory. “We really acted like a team — we love each other.”
One of the main things Reinhart wants to address when his term begins is the “us-versus-them” feeling at council meetings, meaning residents versus council members. That simply can’t be, he said, and he, Finn and Fiumara will work to change that, they said.
Finn moved to Long Beach with his family in 1961, when he was 3. He attended Long Beach Catholic Regional School, and worked at Monarch Beverage, on Long Beach Road. He ended up managing the place after he graduated from college.
“It’s about doing the right thing for Long Beach,” he said. “I’m going to use a surfing metaphor, even though I’m not a surfer. When the north wind blows in to Long Beach, it blows out all the murky water, all the chop, and we get beautiful waves, beautiful beach and beautiful days. Everybody goes up to the boardwalk and enjoys the waves. I think a big north wind just blew through and blew out all the murky stuff, and it’s going to be a great time for us.”
Fiumara has lived in Long Beach for about 25 years, but spent many childhood summers on the city’s beaches.
He recalls talking with his family one day about the taxes in the city, and how he was unhappy with the state it was in. His 6-year-old daughter turned to him and said, “You know, you always tell me to make a change and whatnot, and you have an opportunity to do so. Why don’t you run for City Council?”
So he did.
For Fiumara, the most important issue is the city budget. He thinks that the council — and the city — need new people to handle it.
“I have so many thank-yous, I don’t know who to thank first,” he said on Tuesday. “We were told this couldn’t be done, and I really am humbled by the support. I really look forward to making Long Beach the Long Beach we remember, we love, and everybody being happy again.”
Treston and Posterli, who were both incumbents, and Hodge, a first-time candidate, spoke Tuesday night at Billy’s Beach Café, where they gathered to watch the results come in.
“I am delighted that the residents of the City of Long Beach came out again in record numbers,” Treston said, adding, of the winners, “I wish them the best, and I hope that they will call me, because the first-year is a learning curve. I hope they’re open to collaboration, and it’s obvious that there’s a lot of mending to do.”
“Like I said before I came into this place tonight,” Posterli said, “I’m going to sleep really well tonight, because I left it all right on the floor.”
“Congratulations to the winners, because at the end of the day, no matter who wins, it’s still our city together,” Hodge said. “At the end of the day, let’s give them a round of applause, because no matter who wins, if you’re real about this, this does not mean that your journey stops.”
Patrick Mullaney, a Long Beach Republican, unofficially won the race for the seat in the Nassau County Legislature 4th District, defeating Democrat Alexis Pace. Mullaney garnered 9,704 votes, to Pace’s 6,466.
“I’m speechless — I really am,” Mullaney said. “I can’t thank the people of Long Beach enough. It’s a great community to call home.”
For two decades the seat was held by Denise Ford, who did not seek re-election. Ford endorsed Mullaney.
“I wish him luck as he starts on his path to represent Legislative District 4,” Pace said of Mullaney. “A special thank-you to my supporters and volunteers for their tireless work during this effort.”
Republican Melissa “Missy” Miller, of Atlantic Beach, won re-election to the Hempstead Town Board in the town’s 3rd District, defeating Republican Ingrid Izzaguirre, of Valley Stream, 14,826 votes to 6,851.
“I am very happy with the results and humbled that my constituents have put their faith in me again,” Miller said. “I will not let them down. I will continue to work hard for everyone.”
Additional reporting by Angelina Zingariello and Hernesto Galdamez.