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Zeldin Defeats Foley

Republican's win could shift balance of power in New York State Senate.

In one of the most watched state Senate races in New York this year, Republican Lee Zeldin of Shirley easily defeated incumbent state Sen. Brian Foley, D-Blue Point, in his bid for re-election, an outcome that could have a major impact on the balance of power in Albany.

With 96 percent of the election districts reporting, Zeldin had a 57.7 percent to 42.3 percent lead over Foley, and the Republican claimed victory early Wednesday morning from GOP campaign headquarters at the Sheraton Hotel in Islandia. As the returns came in throughout the night, Zeldin maintained a lead of between 15 percent and 18 percent and was never in danger of losing the race to his Democratic opponent.

"Together we knocked on so many doors all over Islip and Brookhaven," he said. "Throughout this entire campaign we've been advocating for why we need a balance of power in Albany and how Long Island needs a seat at the table. Whether you're Republican or Democrat, we on Long Island need a seat at the table."

Foley, who could not be reached for comment at press time, became a prime target for Republicans following his vote in 2009 to support of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority Tax, which proved to be the big issue in the campaign. GOP campaign ads in recent weeks claimed that Foley — who initially said he would not support the MTA Tax — chose his party over his constituency.

"The MTA Tax was obviously an important issue in the campaign," Zeldin said in an interview immediately following his victory speech. "But there are other issues people are concerned about. Property taxes, the overall cost of living and the loss of the STAR rebates are among them. When you look at the loss of the STAR rebates, that money was used by many to help cover part of a mortgage payment or pay for home heating oil," he said.

"The first thing we're going to do is repeal the MTA Tax and then get the STAR rebates back."

With Democrats holding a slim 32-seat majority in the 62-seat state Senate going into Election Day 2010, Foley's defeat along with the loss of another seat by Democrats would give Republicans control of the house, something the GOP enjoyed for decades prior to 2010. If Republicans gain control, state Sen. Dean Skelos of Rockville Center is expected to become the Senate majority leader.

As for Foley, his political future is cloudy. In 1993 he was elected to the Suffolk County Legislature and filled the seat held for many years by his father, John. In 2005, he became the first Democrat in decades to be elected Brookhaven Town Supervisor and three years later defeated longtime Republican state Sen. Caesar Trunzo in a race for the senate seat he currently occupies.

Emily Portoghese and Laura Weir contributed to this story.

Candidates Party Percent Total Votes Lee Zeldin R 57.7 37,038 Brian Foley D 42.3 27,131
Vito November 03, 2010 at 03:22 AM
Wonder if Mr. Foley regrets his support of that MTA tax? It sure seems as if it was the deciding issue in this race.
Kim November 03, 2010 at 11:21 AM
It would have been foolish for the general public to vote Foley back in........I applaud voters for coming out in full force yesterday to vote for "change". (More than 50% turnout in my district) Now let's hope Zeldin (and the others who were voted in) really do step up to take care of what needs fixing here in NY.
Vito November 03, 2010 at 02:54 PM
I can't say the results of this race disappoint me, but as far as "change" goes, the Republicans were in charge of the NY Senate for 40 years, Dems for 2, so is going back to the way it was for the past 40 years really the path for "change"?
Kim November 03, 2010 at 03:11 PM
When I say "change" it is not with regards to "Democrat" or "Republican"......it's simply the fact that someone who has HELD the position and not done right by the voters being ousted on Election Day. I think one of the biggest problems in this country is polarization of the people by labeling them by Party. Nobody is doing themselves a favor by voting "down the line" on Election Day.....they need to really listen to what each candidate has to say, look at their history (if already in office) and vote accordingly.
stefan krompier November 03, 2010 at 04:28 PM
Tip O'Neal said "all politics are local" This was particularly true in the case of former St. Sen. Foley. I and my neighbors worked hard to get Foley's opponent elected. In our e-mail blitz, Facebook campaign, flyers (del Ronkonkoma, Hauppauge, Sayville and Oakdale) and our press releases that resulted in stories in local media, we never mentioned Foley's opponent's by name. See www.fumesarekillingus.net Our message was, and still is, vote out of office those public officials who fail to protect the health and welfare of their constituants.
AC November 04, 2010 at 04:48 PM
Actually, Tip said, "All Politics *is* local." :) I hope your fumes issue gets resolved. They were paving the LIE near us recently and it was only two nights and I felt poisoned. As for Foley, I'm sure he's regretting some of his decisions. I don't know if turning the keys back to the GOP is the answer (actually, I'm sure it's not), but given how dysfunctional Albany has been in even just the last two years, I'm not surprised Long Islanders voted in all Republicans to the state senate.

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