I just caught up with Republican state Senator Serph Maltese to talk to him about yesterday’s victory by Craig Johnson.
On one subject of immediate speculation — the possibility of partisan defections — Maltese said he spoke with John Bonacic and Joe Robach, two GOP state senators who, like him, are rumored to be considering a party switch that would hand control of the Senate to the Democrats.
“I spoke with both of them last night,” Maltese said, “and both of them told me it’s total baloney and they’re not interested in switching parties.”
He explained yesterday’s loss in Nassau County, at least in part, by pointing to Iraq.
“There was still enough spillover from the war in Iraq and resentment from the president,” Maltese said. “Hopefully in November of next year, the war will be resolved and our troops will be home and it won’t be an issue.”
About the anti-gay marriage flier from the Nassau County Conservative Campaign Committee, Maltese, a former Conservative Party chairman in Queens, said, “Anybody asks me anything about that, I say don’t do it. They usually come back and hit you in the face.”
And as for the impact of yesterday’s loss on GOP state chairman Joe Mondello?
None, said Maltese.
“I don’t know if that’s a referendum on Joe and his leadership. I have full confidence in him,” he said.
“They say the race was run in a textbook fashion,” he continued, but there were “circumstances beyond his control.”
— Azi Paybarah