Incumbent New York State Assemb. Al Graf has be re-elected to a second term in the 5th District, defeating his challenger Victor Salamone by a near 18 percent margin.
Graf, a Rupublican, drew approximately 7,000 more votes than Salamone, and at one point led by nearly a 20 percent margin. The now two-term Assemblyman, however, wasn't glued to the results of the election as much as he was thinking about Long Island's present crisis in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.
“Right now my focus is not on the campaign or tonight [the election]," Graf said. "After this, I will be back in the office tomorrow to see what I can do to help people.”
Salamone could not be reached for a concession statement.
In the wake of Long Island's crisis after the storm, Graf indicated that he believes the hurricane will likely dominate discussions in the legislative sessions when lawmakers return to Albany.
“There are lots of things I want to look at," he said. "After the hurricane we need to get funding to the towns, villages and the county and work to get [powerlines] underground.”
Graf was elected to the 5th District seat in 2010 after defeating incumbent Ginny Fields. This year he campaigned on issues such as high energy costs, job creation and cost of living on Long Island, a fitting issue considering the power outages and public outcry over the preparedness of LIPA.
“Let’s not sit there and just beat up LIPA," Graf said. "Let's find solutions and figure out what we are going to fix.”
Graf is a Navy veteran and served as a member of the NYPD. In a Q&A with Patch during the campaign trail, he stated that he intends to get Long Island access to cheaper Hydro power used in the upstate region, and to make some changes in state education issues, such as getting general (non-Regents) diplomas back on the table as an option for students.