Let the games begin

Part of that backroom dealing, according to one scenario, would have the Republicans finally convincing Gulotta to take a spot on the state Supreme Court, perhaps in exchange for even more Democrats being appointed to the open District Court seats.

DiNapoli won't confirm that he's even about to start negotiating with Mondello, though that will be inevitable. And he sounds cautious when asked about the chances of Raab's retaking of the powers of the judgeship he was elected to. He says the Nassau Democrats have to focus on "organizational issues" right now, not to mention money: The party's shortage of campaign funds probably cost it at least a couple of more victories in the County Legislature, which it now controls 10-9.

The money problems may work themselves out. The public will know later this month, when the first post-election campaign-contribution reports from the parties come rolling in. Now that the Democrats have seized a majority in the county legislature and sturdy footholds in the town governments of Hempstead and Oyster Bay, many of the law firms, businesses and unions that formerly lavished practically all their political money on the GOP machine will probably start throwing some the Democrats' way.

"I sure as hell hope so," says DiNapoli. "We're $60,000 in debt."

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