Primary results for the 3rd Congressional District race were not final at press time on June 24, but U.S. Rep. Tom Suozzi said he was confident he had won. With 340 precincts reporting in-person voting, he had captured 59 percent of the total vote among the three candidates running.
“Last night was a great night, and it’s amazing how many people voted,” said the Democrat in a Wednesday morning Zoom call. “The biggest enemy in a race is low voter turnout. More than double voted compared to the first time I ran [in a primary] in 2016.”
The 3rd District congressman noted he had 4,000 more votes than one candidate and 8,000 than the other.
Suozzi’s opponents in the primary, Michael Weinstock, an attorney, and Melanie D’Arrigo, an allied health professional, had not conceded as of Wednesday, Suozzi said.
As of Tuesday night, the Nassau County Board of Elections had only counted results from in-person early and Election Day voting. Absentee ballots had not been tabulated. So the vote could not be finalized.
By state law, counting of absentee ballots could not begin until seven days after June 23, the last date by which the ballots could be postmarked to count in the election. The state was waiting a week to ensure that all absentee ballots were returned and counted, said Bonnie Garone, counsel to the Nassau Democratic election commissioner.
Traditionally, people who cast absentee ballots tend to be older than those who vote in person, said Suozzi, 57, a former Nassau County executive and Glen Cove mayor. “The younger voters are more likely to vote for my opponents,” he said. “Older voters voting absentee will be better for me.”
It was unclear at press time what percentage of the electorate voted by absentee ballot, and how many such ballots were mailed in on Tuesday. Because many people were concerned about the coronavirus pandemic, however, in-person voting was expected to be lighter than normal. Many people, officials said, would likely cast absentee ballots, which all voters were permitted to do, provided they had requested them.
Garone noted that counting of absentee ballots should be faster than in past years, as the Board of Elections now has a set of high-speed tabulation machines that should expedite the process.
Suozzi said he believes roughly 30,000 people voted by absentee ballot. Describing absentee ballots as more convenient, he said the expected large number of such ballots indicates Democrats are displeased “with the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.”
Suozzi’s campaign, he said, was entirely virtual because of the coronavirus pandemic. His campaign made 7,500 calls Tuesday alone and 130,000 in total.
He plans to travel to Washington, D.C., Thursday to vote on the criminal justice reform bill, which he said would be a partisan vote, at least for now.
“I do work across party lines to get things done, which I will continue to do,” he said.
New York Assemblyman Charles Lavine, a Democrat from Glen Cove, an attorney, has been in office for 15 years. He will face Republican challenger Andrew Monteleone in November.
Republican Assemblyman Michael Montesano, from Glen Head, a former New York Police Department police officer and detective, was elected to the Assembly in 2010. He will run against Democratic challenger Joseph Sackman this year.
State Sen. James Gaughran, a Democrat from Northport, will face Republican challenger Edmund Smyth and Green Party candidate Barbara Wagner.
Scott Brinton contributed to this story