State Sen. Tom Croci announces he is not running for re-election

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Long Island state Sen. Tom Croci has announced he is not running for re-election this fall.

The Sayville Republican told News 12 that he has accepted a one-year assignment in active duty with the Navy. Croci is currently a commander in the Navy reserve, and said he'll begin his assignment in the coming weeks.

In a statement, Croci said, “I am being recalled to active duty and have accepted orders that preclude me from being a candidate for public office. I therefore will not be seeking a third term representing the Third District in the New York State Senate.”

Croci told News 12’s Doug Geed that the “Navy has been a big part of my life and the people that I serve know that.”

“It's a decision that I didn't take lightly. I took a long time thinking about it, where I could be of best service and I think this is the right choice, not only for the residents, but also for the country,” he said.

Although not totally unexpected, the announcement adds to the worries of Republicans statewide. Three other GOP state senators, all from upstate, announced last week that this would also be their last term. A fourth is said to be close to announcing the same.

With a slim one-vote majority, Republicans will be desperate to keep control of the Senate next year. Republicans hold that majority only because of a Brooklyn Democrat who caucuses with them.

As for why it is potentially a big deal on Long Island – state politics is in many ways a tug-of-war over money for schools, highways and other projects. Republicans portray themselves as protectors of the suburbs, like Nassau and Suffolk. If Democrats take control of the state Senate, they argue that more money will be funneled from Albany to New York City.

Nassau County Democratic Party Chief Jay Jacobs argues if Democrats take control of the Senate, Long Islanders will be better off.

“I think the suburbs will have so much more power, because we'll be giving the majority to the Democrats. That's going to have a lot of influence,” says Jacobs.

For some Long Island voters, party labels don't mean much. Allan Mallenbaum, 50, of Plainview, describes himself as a registered Democrat who usually votes Republican, but wants politicians to focus on one thing.

“Taxes,” he said.

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