5 Democrats Vie for SD-1 Nomination – UPDATED

Suffolk Politics full analysis plus predictions for the Democratic Primary for NYS Senate District 1 on June 23.

There are five declared candidates, however, in Suffolk Politics opinion, two are not viable:

  1. Nora Higgins – She does not appear to be running a serious campaign, lacking even the rudimentary elements necessary to compete [e.g. – zero campaign expenditures as of the 32 day Pre-Primary report].
  2. Skyler Johnson – Is a 19 year old college student who has assembled a genuine campaign, and is someone to keep an eye on in the future. His non-viability status is based on the disparity of COH with the other three candidates which should overwhelm his message.

The three remaining candidates are [alphabetically]:

Laura Ahearn – NYS Licensed Attorney and Social Worker with 20+ years of crime victim advocacy experience

Based on NYS Campaign Finance filings through May 22, Ms. Ahearn reports total contributions of $177,232 and total expenditures of $85,398.

Demonstrating her fund-raising prowess, she has received 49 unique donations ranging from $1,000 to $11,000 each.

This has enabled her to retain top professional consultants to create the proper strategy and tactics necessary to win.

Bottom-Line Prediction: Solid favorite


Valerie Cartright – Current member of the Brookhaven Town Council.

As of the 32 Day Pre-Primary report Ms. Cartright shows contributions of only $52,350…but upon further analysis, she shows some hidden strength for two reasons:

1. Her contributions consist of a huge number of individuals [31 pages worth!].

2. The majority of her donors reside in the district.

This translates into grass-roots support and VOTES in a low turn-out election.

Bottom-Line Prediction: Clear Second Place


John Schiavoni – Current member of the Southampton Town Council.

Reviewing Mr. Schiavoni’s campaign finance reports proved to be quite an ‘accounting adventure’ as most campaign expenses on his January filing are listed as ‘In-Kind Contributions’ by the candidate.

It appears possible he may be trying to win this nomination with personal and family funds. Although his filings show an incredibly impressive contribution total of $238,088, as near as can be determined, only approximately $18,600 came from individual contributions.

It seems another factor may also come into play. As reported in The Sag Harbor Express.com on 3/11/20, as many as 45 of his former interns may be planning to actively campaign against him. If true, that could be a game-changer in a low turn-out NYS Senate Primary.

Bottom-Line Prediction: Distant Third Place

Agree…or disagree? Comment below.

UPDATE 6/13 – Filings covering the last 3-week period show:

  • Ahearn – Spent additional $43,301 COH – $69,602
  • Cartright – Spent additional $906 COH $25,752
  • Schiavoni – Spent additional $87,955 COH – $1,463

To review all Suffolk NYS Senate matchups and predictions click here.

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