GARDEN CITY, NY – First-time candidate Madeline Singas won a stunning victory in the race for Nassau County District Attorney. The Greek-American named Acting DA in January defeated veteran politician Kate Murray, Hempstead Town Supervisor, by 58 to 42 percent.
In a touching moment, Singas told guests at the Garden City Hotel “November 3 was always a special day in our family and it will continue to be. My father, if he were alive, would be 83 today. This would have been the greatest birthday present I could have ever given him.”
Nassau County Democratic Chairman Jay Jacobs said to a burst of applause shortly after 11 PM “I am comfortable declaring victory in the District Attorney race,” and called Singas to the stage. She immediately called to her side her 12 year-old children Billy and Demi, and her husband, Theo Apostolou, whom she called “my love, my rock.”
Singas said, “I am very proud of my family; I’m very proud of my heritage, my parents, and aunts and uncles who are with me today, who came to this country… with no formal education, but with faith in God and in this country, [believing] that someday their daughter can stand before a group of people and say ‘thank you for electing me District Attorney of Nassau County.”
“I am so proud and I thank all the Greek-Americans who helped me reach this point, especially my parents and my aunts and uncles who always gave me love and told me I could accomplish anything I wanted,” she continued.
Singas is the first woman with roots in Norther Epiros to be elected to such high office.
Asked if she was nervous in the beginning, Singas said “in those moments I was thinking of all the work we had done, I was thinking of the future, of my parents. There were a lot of feelings.”
She thanked the volunteers, organizations and contributors who fueled her campaign, Jacobs, and Congresswoman Kathleen Rice, her predecessor and boss as DA, whom she called a friend and mentor.
“I’ve said it before – I don’t stand here alone. I stand here because of the work you all. The message got through. I’m not a politician – I could not do it without you – I’m just a prosecutor.” She told voters that is exactly what Nassau needs. The campaign honed the message, stuck to it, and triumphed.
“I am also proud of what this victory represents…it transcends politics…the voters said ‘we will put our community first’…I thank them for putting aside partisanship, for crossing the line and voting for me. “
She then cited her priorities: “Public corruption is still a problem in Nassau and I plan to help root it out……I will follow the evidence without fear or favor. I will be what the voters expect – a prosecutor.”
Singas continued, “Heroin is a problem nationally and in our community and I vow to tackle it head first. Gun violence is a problem and we have to use smart and innovative techniques to make sure we keep our children safe. I look forward to working with the community and law enforcement…I will work with anyone, Democrat or Republican to make sure the needs of our families come first…so that Nassau Count continues to be the safest large county in America.”
Jacobs was gushing over the victory and told TNH “Madeline will make a superior District Attorney.”
Asked about the higher than normal turnout, Jacobs attributed it to Singas running a great campaign. Greek-Americans present had no doubts that the community made a big impact, with many crossing party lines to support one of their own.
“The community has been great,” Singas’ husband Theo Apostolou, told TNH. “That was one of the X-factors that our opponents didn’t count on. They didn’t count on the Greeks, who are heavily Republican in Nassau County. They were counting on those votes,” he said, and explained that when a Greek Republican crossed party lines to vote for Madeline, it was like getting two votes.
Efstathios Valiotes told TNH he was proud of Singas and Chris Neocleous called it “an amazing night. A beautiful thing.”
“We had a great victory tonight,” George Tsunis said. “Madeline overcame tremendous odds to beat the establishment…the community coalesced around Madeline and gave her the resources necessary to do this. If we can now work together, elect more Greek-Americans to office and continue to accomplish things for our community that would be the second great thing that happened tonight.”
Tom Kourkoumelis, one of the owners of Astoria’s United Brothers fruit market, was thrilled, as was his wife Kathy. They provided the campaign with vital strong and early support. He told TNH “I just do what everyone should do. We have to support Greeks. I hope others learn that lesson so we can progress and gain strength as a community.”
Media reports attributed he margin of victory to voter’s outrage over corruption and the perception that an independent non-political person will fight against it. Ironically, that dynamic was fueled by the travails of the Skelos family. The trials of former New York State Senate Majority leader Dean Skelos and his son Adam are imminent.
The excitement in the room filled with Greek and non-Greek supporters was building from the start. As the air thickened with the shift from possibility to power’s actuality, the smiles of the supporters broadened, but those of politicos turned into serious looks. They know victory celebrations are followed by massive responsibilities, but everyone was praying for Singas.
Singas’ fellow parishioner, Emily Beys, also made her inaugural run. She did not win, but the narrow margin, 52-48 percent, indicates great promise for a rookie.