Lack of Party Support for Montano Cost Democrats in Suffolk

The balance of power in the State Senate could have tipped in favor of Democrats had their leadership in Suffolk County generously funded the campaign of Rick Montano for the State Senate, La Tribuna Hispana reported. Montano lost by a small margin. The article below was edited and translated from Spanish.

Phil Ramos via La Tribuna Hispana

Cementing himself as the most important Hispanic politician in the area, Democrat Phil Ramos was re-elected to the State Assembly in the 6th District. Ramos, a former police officer and current incumbent, won his fifth re-election to the job. He won for the first time in 2001, the first election in the newly created district (D6) following the 2000 census and after a legal battle led by Ramos himself.

Since then he has consolidated himself as the politician of Latino descent most representative of the area. His district comprises Bayshore, Brentwood, Central Islip, Hauppage, Islip, Islandia and North Bayshore where a great many Hispanics live, along with many African Americans. In the past four years his opponents have tried without success to take the seat away from him which some say has solidified his position even more. This time around he won 80.96 percent of the vote compared to a little more than 15 percent for his Republican opponent, Manuel Troche.

Rick Montano via La Tribuna Hispana

For his part, Suffolk County Legislator Rick Montano lost an extremely hard-fought election for a seat in the State Senate by a very slim margin to Republican State Assemblyman Phil Boyle. Montano was up against an experienced politician for the 4th District, a position previously occupied by veteran politician John Owens, who had resigned, and a district Republicans have controlled for the past 20 years.

At first glance the results of the race seem to be what Boyle expected.  He ran a campaign that had great financial backing from his party, topping half a million dollars, compared to Montano, who ran on a squalid budget granted by his party that barely reached $12,000 plus what his campaign committee collected in personal donations. Montano had earlier criticized Suffolk County Democratic Party executives, who at first decided, in a strategic agreement with the Republicans, not to put up any candidate for the race. However, at Montano’s insistence, which went so far as declaring he would run on his own as an independent, they had no choice but to accept him in the ballot as a Democrat. And now, in light of the results, one can deduce that they were not convinced that a Democrat could win, judging for the lack of financial support for their candidate.

What is certain is that it was a close election in which our County Legislator could have had better luck, an analysis that for sure Democrats will have to conduct and a mea culpa from those who decided against truly supporting a race that could have changed the balance in favor of Democrats in the State Senate in Albany.

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