Voters went to the polls on Tuesday to cast their ballots for the Nassau County Legislature and the Hempstead Town Board.
In the race in the Legislature’s 1st District, Democratic candidate Scott Davis declared victory over Republican Michael Lucchesi following a hard-fought race for the new seat, which includes Rockville Centre and Hempstead.
“This has been quite a journey,” Davis said in his victory speech at the Garden City Hotel on Tuesday night. “I’ve been receiving a tremendous amount of support from many different people from many different directions, and I can’t thank you all enough for that.”
Davis, a 61-year-old attorney who lives in Rockville Centre and grew up in Hempstead, captured roughly 55 percent of the vote — receiving 5,356 votes of the 9,893 that had been cast, according to unofficial results provided by the Nassau County Board of Elections.
His opponent, Lucchesi, a 39-year-old financial adviser, garnered 4,530 votes — or 45 percent. He could not be reached for comment on Tuesday night.
Davis said that his victory was largely a result of the time and effort he dedicated to being an active participant in both communities, and connecting with people on a personal level.
“The number one issue for all of Nassau County is affordability,” he said. “It’s taxes. It’s expensive living here, and for me, my priority has always been to the taxpayer. It shouldn’t be the government or the politician ... It has been a long six months, so first I want to take a little bit of a deep breath here and gather myself, roll up my sleeves, and get down to work.”
Davis’ victory was crucial in staving off attempts at a GOP supermajority, while Nassau County Republicans appeared to hold a 12-7 majority in the Legislature. Democrat Josh Lafazan was trailing to Republican candidate Samantha Goetz.
Despite Davis’ victory, it was a difficult year for Democrats, particularly in the Town of Hempstead, where Republican incumbents won landslide victories over their challengers.
Town Supervisor Don Clavin won re-election over challenger Olena Nicks with 65 percent of the vote, received 81,731 of the more than 125,000 ballots cast, according to the unofficial results.
Clavin was first elected in 2019, winning by only 1,650 votes over Laura Gillen, who was the first Democrat to hold the seat in almost a century.
His fellow incumbents, Town Clerk Kate Murray and Receiver of Taxes Jeanine Driscoll, also won by overwhelming majorities, both claiming 63 percent of the vote.
Republican Laura Ryder declared victory in the race in the town’s 4th District, which encompasses East Rockaway, Hewlett, Island Park, South Hempstead, Oceanside, and Rockville Centre and portions of Baldwin, Cedarhurst, Lynbrook, Malverne, Valley Stream, and Woodmere.
Ryder previously served on the Lynbrook village board in 2021, and was appointed to fill the vacant council seat left by Congressman Anthony D’Esposito. Based on the unofficial results, Ryder won with 62 percent of the vote, garnering 15,140 votes out of the more than 24,000 that were cast.
“It is my honor to continue to serve my constituents in the Town of Hempstead 4th District,” Ryder said. “I am grateful to be part of an incredible team of dedicated public servants. Many thanks to all who supported me, and I will continue to be your voice.”
Her opponent, Darien Ward is a Baldwin civic leader and loan officer, conceded after receiving 38 percent of the vote.
Ward said the election had taught him a lot, and that he would remain involved in helping neighbors. “Win, lose or draw, I think residents need to stay engaged in the political and economic issues of the town,” he said. “I will stay engaged. I learned a great deal from the residents, and will continue to advocate for accountability and transparency in town government.”
County Executive Bruce Blakeman, who wasn’t up for re-election this year, praised fellow Republicans at the county level, saying that under the leadership of county GOP Chairman Joseph Cairo, the party had built a dynasty.
“One hundred years from now they’re going to be talking about the Cairo dynasty,” Blakeman told supporters. “It’s a night when we can put faith in the people behind me that they will protect our communities. They will keep our taxes down, and they will make sure that we do not become a sanctuary county.”
County and state Democratic Chair Jay Jacobs told supporters at the Garden City Hotel Tuesday night that the results coming in were expected.
“I don’t think we’re going to gain or lose any seats in the Legislature,” Jacobs said. “I’m very happy to congratulate the Democratic candidates who won tonight.”
With about 75 percent of votes counted, both statewide ballot amendments appeared to have passed overwhelmingly. Sixty-five percent of voters supported Proposal 1 — which would remove the debt limit for small city school districts — and 69 percent supported Proposal 2 — which would permit cities and towns to exceed debt limits to build new sewage facilities.
Additional reporting by Mark Nolan, Ben Fiebert and Brandon Cruz