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Local parties pick their slates for November

Mix of veterans and newcomers gear up for race

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The Nassau and Suffolk County Republican committees released their official slate of candidates last week, taking aim at two of the “Long Island Six” state senators whose election in 2018 tipped the balance in Albany and gave the Democrats a trifecta of both legislative houses and the governor’s mansion.

In the 6th Senate District, Town of Hempstead Councilman Dennis Dunne, of Levittown, was nominated to take on the incumbent, Sen. Kevin Thomas, also of Levittown. In 2018, Thomas defeated the 14-term incumbent, Kemp Hannon, by less than 2 percent of the vote in one of the evening’s surprise upsets.

“I knocked on about 100,000 doors,” he said when asked afterward how he did it. “I’m knocking on doors again,” he said last week.

Thomas, 35, serves on eight Senate committees, including the Consumer Protection Committee, which he chairs. The student loan crisis figures among his signature issues, and he recently introduced legislation that would freeze tuition at both SUNY and CUNY schools for a period of four years.

Dunne, 67, who was appointed to the town council in 2017, previously served 22 years as a Nassau County legislator. He is a Vietnam veteran, having served in the U.S. Marine Corps, and worked as a veterans’ counselor before going into politics.

Two-term Sen. John Brooks, Democrat of Seaford, is currently running unopposed in the 8th Senate District.

First-term Assemblyman John Mikulin, another Levittown resident, served on the Island Trees Library board and was a deputy attorney for the Town of Hempstead before his appointment to the Assembly just months before the 2018 election. He is being opposed by first-time candidate Mark Engleman.

In the 14th District, veteran Assemblyman Dave McDonough is running for his 10th term against Kevin Gorman, who ran unsuccessfully for the 10th District seat in 2010, losing to Joseph Saladino, currently supervisor in the Town of Oyster Bay. Gorman is a small business owner and lives in Wantagh.

The race for retiring Rep. Peter King, Republican of Seaford, is stirring the most interest. When the 14-term Congressman announced his retirement at the end of last year, a crop of candidates from both parties declared their interest. Former Town of Babylon Councilwoman Jackie Gordon, who declared her candidacy before King’s announcement, is the Democratic candidate for what some Democrats regard as a poachable seat. Assemblyman Andrew Garbarino is the Republican candidate, but he is being challenged in the primary by Assemblyman Michael LiPetri, of Massapequa Park.

In a statement more reminiscent of Washington than Mineola, Nassau Republican Chairman Joseph Cairo accused the Democrats of “putting criminals ahead of law-abiding residents. … of prohibiting judges from holding dangerous gang members, drug dealers and bank robbers in our jails.”

Cairo also accused Democrats of torpedoing Amazon’s proposal of an East Coast headquarters in Long Island City, in the Borough of Queens.