Campaigns & Elections

Patrick Carroll hopes to keep Rockland County Assembly seat blue

When Democratic Assembly Member Kenneth Zebrowski announced he wouldn’t be running for reelection – the Assembly supermajority got a little more vulnerable.

Patrick Carroll is seeking Assembly Member Kenneth Zebrowski’s Rockland County seat.

Patrick Carroll is seeking Assembly Member Kenneth Zebrowski’s Rockland County seat. Provided

Democratic Assembly Member Kenneth Zebrowski announced that he would not seek reelection on Thursday, and a Democrat has already begun racking up endorsements to replace him. Although Assembly District 96 has been held by Democrats for years, an open race could prove competitive after the governor underperformed in the district in 2022.

Clarkstown Council Member Patrick Carroll announced he would run to replace Zebrowski the same day the Assembly member said he would retire. Carroll is the first and so far only person to jump into the race, and he has already begun to lock in local Democratic support. In less than a week, he has received the endorsements of three current county legislators, former state Sen. David Carlucci, former Clarkstown Supervisor and Assembly Member Alex Gromack, and former longtime county Legislator Harriet Cornell, who also served as the Rockland Democratic Party chair in the past.

First elected for the Clarkstown Council in 2017, Carroll has been the only Democrat in the five-person body – which includes the town supervisor – the entire time he has been there. “To have the support there, that’s not surprising to me because I’ve been working with the Dems and the local Democrats for a while – we’ve run a lot of races together,” Carroll told City & State. “In the same vein, it’s probably one of the reasons I believe I’m the best chance to retain this seat for the Democrats.”

Although control of the Assembly chamber is not in peril for Democrats, their supermajority may be. The party needs 100 seats for a supermajority, and Democrats currently hold 101 after losses in 2022 and the resignation of Assembly Member Latoya Joyner earlier this month. A Democrat is all but assured to replace her in an upcoming special election, bringing the party’s number back up to 102 – but that offers Democrats very little wiggle room come November. And there are other races incumbents barely won in 2022 that will likely be competitive again. Zebrowski’s retirement has now potentially put what would have been considered a safe seat into contention.

The entirety of the district exists within Rockland County, which has purple politics, and Clarkstown is the largest town within the district. At the congressional level, the area is represented by Republican Mike Lawler – but Democrats just won a supermajority in the county legislature last year. Democrats have represented Assembly District 96 – or versions of it – for at least the past two decades, but Republicans control Clarkstown.

What’s more, Gov. Kathy Hochul underperformed in the district when she ran her first campaign for governor in 2022. She beat Republican opponent Lee Zeldin by just under 2,000 votes, when former Gov. Andrew Cuomo won the district by over 6,000 votes. The totals in both races were roughly the same. Zebrowski outperformed Hochul in 2022, easily besting his Republican opponent, but the district won’t benefit from a longtime incumbent this year. Zebrowski was first elected in a 2007 special election.