How Bruce Blakeman Used a Mask Rebellion to Revive His Career

To that end, Mr. Blakeman ran a law-and-order and anti-tax campaign. He seemingly galvanized concerned suburbanites and die-hard Trump conservatives into a winning coalition, despite Democrats outnumbering Republicans by about 25,000 in the county, with a tranche of some 200,000 independent voters.

The margin was thin, with Mr. Blakeman beating Ms. Curran by less than 1 percent, or about 2,100 votes.

Mr. Cairo said that Mr. Blakeman’s opponents “tried to portray him as being a loser, and that he’s only doing this because he’s Cairo’s friend.”

Mr. Blakeman proved to a dogged campaigner, however, impressing even some Democrats.

“I would see him along the way and he’d say, ‘Tom, we’re going to win this.’ And I would say, ‘Really?’” said Thomas DiNapoli, the state’s comptroller, a Democrat, and a figure in Nassau County politics for more than three decades. “But he believed in himself.”

Mr. Blakeman also won, said Lawrence Levy, the dean of suburban studies at Hofstra University, because he “leveraged concerns over bail reform and property tax assessments in ways that appealed both to his base and the sort of moderate independent who abandoned Trump in 2020.”

That combination, however, will prove to be difficult to maintain, Mr. Levy said.

“He is trying to thread a political and ideological needle,” he said. “He is getting a lot of attention for taking very conservative populist positions with Trump-style rhetoric, ostensibly to deliver on promises he made to his base. But he’s also trying not to entirely alienate the sort of suburban swing voter that decides national and local elections.”

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