Another prominent Democrat bites the dust in Long Island.
Republican Bruce Blakeman has declared victory in what looks like a stunning upset of Democratic incumbent Nassau County Executive Laura Curran.
Before the election, Republicans said they had a good chance of winning the district attorney’s race in a referendum on bail reform, but privately doubted that Blakeman could topple Curran, who was considered to be popular.
Republicans won both district attorney’s races — in Nassau and Suffolk counties — in blowouts.
But the “red tsunami” swamped Curran with Blakeman.
The machine count has Blakeman ahead by 11,834 votes — 135,842 to 124,008 for Curran, or 52 percent to 47 percent.
There are about 20,000 absentee ballots to be counted but even Democrats concede the odds are long that Curran can overtake Blakeman given the size of his lead.
“I declare victory. I won,” said Blakeman — the ex-husband of Nancy Shevell, a former MTA board member who married ex-Beatle Paul McCartney in 2011 — has previously run unsuccessfully for US Senate, Congress and state comptroller and who currently serves on the Hempstead Town Council.
“There were two issues I campaigned on: taxes and crime.”
He said voter disgust with the bail reform law approved by Democrats in the state Legislature — a big issue in the district attorney’s race — helped put him over the top.
Curran has not conceded the race. She issued a statement saying she’s awaiting the counting of absentee ballots.
“There are many thousands of absentee ballots that still must be counted – with more coming in. This is not over and we must trust the process. Every Nassau resident who participated in this election is owed the opportunity to have their voice heard,” Curran said.
“I have faith in Nassau County and the good work we have accomplished over the last four years. The residents of Nassau have taught a masterclass in resilience, and I have plenty in reserve. We may not know the winner of this election, but I do know one thing – tomorrow, we get right back to work delivering for the incredible residents of Nassau County.”
Even in blue New York City, Republicans won at least four competitive Council seats and have one Democratic incumbent fighting for his political life.
In Nassau, county Democratic leader Jay Jacobs said he urged Curran to await the counting of absentee ballots but admitted overtaking Blakeman was “an uphill endeavor.”
Jacobs, who is also the state Democratic Party chairman, said he’s seen this political horror movie before when his party controlled the White House and Congress.
In 2009, during former President Barack Obama’s first year in office, Republican Ed Mangano upset Democratic County Executive Tom Suozzi, now a congressman eyeing a run for governor. Republicans were energized while Democrats took the political hit for Obamacare and other spending programs.
History has repeated itself, Jacobs said, with Republicans revved up and Biden and the Democrats in Congress tied in knots over spending priorities.
Jacobs said the Republicans successfully painted Democrats — unfairly in his eyes — as too far to the left, while Biden and Democrats are bogged down in policy disputes, which turned off Democratic voters.
“When we struggle to get things passed, some of the air comes out of the bubble,” he said.
Jacobs said every internal poll had Curran leading Blakeman by double digits.
The sobering results are a wake-up call for Democrats to recalibrate the party’s message in the battleground suburbs.
“We need a unifying message that is progressive but moderate,” he said.