Democrat Calone Sees a Path to Suffolk County Exec

Mark Chiusano

Back to the polls
Dave Calone is getting his ducks in a row for his Suffolk County executive bid — including Democratic Party chairman Rich Schaffer.

The venture capitalist and former prosecutor is holding a kickoff event Thursday night in Hauppauge, sponsored by Schaffer as well as the county legislature’s Democratic caucus, and the Democratic chairs of Suffolk’s towns, according to a Calone news release.

Calone was unsuccessful in his Democratic primary bid for the 1st Congressional District in 2016, but he appears to be doing everything possible to become the party’s nominee in November this time. That includes a solid campaign war chest — his account had a closing balance of $938,941.09 for the July periodic filing, the most recent available. And now Schaffer is on board, too.

“I am thrilled that Dave Calone is running for County Executive and am proud to support his campaign,” Schaffer said in a statement provided to The Point.

Among the groups boosting Calone’s bid is the Brookhaven Town Democratic Committee Progressive Caucus, which sent out an invitation to the Thursday event.

The potential candidate or candidates on the GOP side remain unclear; county GOP chairman Jesse Garcia says the committee is “talking to a number of candidates.” But the biggest question for November might be which way Suffolk is trending politically. Term-limited Democrat Steve Bellone has held the county executive post since his 2011 win, but the GOP has recently been notching big victories in Suffolk — knocking off an incumbent Democratic district attorney, claiming the majority in the county legislature, and powering Lee Zeldin’s close-call gubernatorial campaign with a nearly 100,000 vote advantage over Kathy Hochul in the county.

Some Democrats see things differently. County Legis. Kara Hahn, who is listed on the event invite forwarded by the Brookhaven progressive caucus, told The Point “there is an absolute path” for Calone.

She compared the current moment with the years after 2009, when Democrats on Long Island struggled the year after Barack Obama’s presidential win. Then 2010 was a bad midterm for Democrats. By 2011, the “pendulum” had swung back, Hahn argued: “We came back and took the supermajority in the legislature.” That was the year both she and Bellone won election to their current posts.

"I think that's the swing we're on,” she said.