Incumbents win local races

Rice, Kaminsky and Miller defeat challengers

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State Sen. Todd Kaminsky, a Democrat from Long Beach, was elected to another two-year term in the 9th Senate District on Tuesday, defeating his challenger, Francis X. Becker, a Republican from Lynbrook, as part of a wave of victories across the state that saw the Democrats take control of the Senate majority.

Kaminsky earned 69,135 votes to Becker’s 42,971.

“I’ve been in the minority — it’s no fun,” Kaminsky said. “Now, to have the opportunity to govern, especially with a big suburban group, is great. I’m really excited for the good things we’re going to do. We’re going to do a lot of voting reform, we’re going to do some ethics, we’re going to help the environment, we’re going to do so many of the things that have been jammed up in Albany for so long, so the possibilities are endless.”

Many considered the midterm elections a referendum on the Trump administration. Candidates across the country repeated pro- and anti-Trump talking points. In New York, the elections yielded significant gains for state Democrats, with hotly contested races leading to the party’s first true Senate majority since 1965.

Nonetheless, Assemblywoman Melissa “Missy” Miller, a Republican from Atlantic Beach, defeated her challenger in the 20th District, Juan Vides, a Democrat from Oceanside, with 23,089 votes to Vides’s 19,578.

“It’s a very good thing to have balance,” Miller said, “and when there’s no balance, when there’s just one side, that’s a scary and dangerous thing.”

“Even though our numbers were strong in Long Beach for … Vides, and the Long Beach results put him in the lead against … Miller here,” said Darlene Tangney, president of the Independent Democratic Club of Long Beach, “he unfortunately lost the race in other areas of the 20th District.”

Incumbent U.S. Rep. Kathleen Rice, a Democrat from Garden City, defeated her Republican opponent, Ameer Benno, from Bellmore, coasting to her third term representing New York’s 4th Congressional District. Rice, who helped Democrats regain control of the House, garnered 149,078 votes, while Benno earned 95,187.

“We’re going to be able to protect our environment; we’re going to be able to protect our LGBTQ community,” Rice said, declaring victory in Garden City. “We can do it all right here.”

“I'm committed to the community, and that doesn't stop with the election,” Benno said. “I’m still going to be involved and work hard.”

“I am proud that all our Democratic candidates won in Long Beach,” Tangney said. “We are excited that we have taken back the House in Washington, D.C., and I urge everyone to continue advocating for civility, compassion and kindness from our leaders.”

Voter turnout was significantly higher in the 4th C.D., the 9th S.D. and the 20th A.D. than in the last midterm election in 2014, when Barack Obama was president.

“I always voted. I believe in the vote,” 104-year-old Lido Beach resident Ruth Berk said after casting her ballot at Long Beach High School. “This is a divided country right now. Given a chance, the Democrats will get our country back.”

Berk, who was born before women could vote and came of age during the Great Depression, encouraged young people to become more involved in politics. “If you have something to say,” she said, “raise your hand.”

Peter Belfiore, Andrew Garcia and Zach Gottehrer-Cohen contributed to this story.