The republican stronghold of Nassau County is no more. The homebase of what was considered the most powerful republican machine has gone Democratic in voter enrollment to match County control. According to the Board of Elections via Newsday, "Democrats closed the gap in voter registration, as of 11 a.m. yesterday, and by day's end had a 328,582 to 328,461 enrollment edge over county Republicans."
It's not a huge lead but for the first time in history, Democrats outnumber republicans.
Democratic Party Chairman "Jacobs said that Democrats lagged Republicans by 79,000 voters as recently as 2001 when Democrat Thomas Suozzi was first elected as county executive. He said the Democrats narrowed the margin to about 7,000 voters as of last spring and had expected to close the gap by year's end."
The 2008 election has brought out more registered Democrats across the country and the surge has outstripped anything expected in Nassau. "We expected this to happen in December or January, but it’s happening sooner as a function of all the excitement currently with Obama, and all the rest. I think this will impact the state Senate race,” Jacobs said, with GOP Sen. Kemp Hannon’s district having lost close to 8,000 Republicans and gained about 8,000 Democrats since 2004."
The former-republican stronghold of Nassau County (it's nice to say) has been steadily electing more Democrats since 1999. Every election cycle, Nassau GOP Party Boss Joe Mondello keeps losing ground. I wonder who would want to take over the reins at this point. When the republicans lose the New York State Senate majority next month, Mondello who is also state party boss won't be in the position for long. Mondello can't keep control over his own county and didn't do much party-building in the state leading up to this years elections.
Just last month, Nassau Young Republican President Stephen Canzoneri sain in the groups newsletter "Elections are becoming tougher and tougher in Nassau County as Democratic enrollment soars. In a few months we will be living in a Democratic county for the first time in history if this trend continues. So be sure to encourage your friends and family to enroll as a Republican."
I think Stephen's statement goes to the heart as to why the republicans are losing so many voters. There is more to it than just "encouraging" people to enroll as republicans. Republicans need to convince voters that they are a viable party with the ideas to make things better. They have not done that.
It is old thinking in Nassau that people can be "encouraged" to enroll as republicans. In the past, if you wanted a job with the Towns, Villages and the County, you were "encouraged" to register as a republican.
No one was "convinced," they were pushed to register as republicans. That era is long over but it seems even the Young Republicans (or at least some of them) don't realize it yet.