Written by Joe Scotchie Friday, 11 December 2009 00:00
Mangano, who defeated Democratic incumbent Thomas R. Suozzi by a 386-vote margin, has represented parts of Plainedge and South Farmingdale in his 17th Nassau County Legislative district.
As significantly, the Republican Party, on election night, regained control of that same legislative body. The new majority leader is expected to be longtime Massapequa resident Peter J. Schmitt, who won re-election in his own 12th legislative district.
Finally, election districts in the Massapequa-Seaford-Wantagh-Farmingdale area voted almost unanimously for Mangano. The challenger made inroads into numerous election districts that voted for Suozzi in 2005, but the Massapequa area gave Mangano a solid base in which to launch his upset victory.
Even though Suozzi, prior to the election, held a lead in public opinion polls, not all observers of Nassau County politics considered Mangano’s win a surprise. Among them was Village of Massapequa Park Mayor James Altadonna.
“When a party loses touch with the people they are supposed to represent and continues to tax them, then there are repercussions,” Altadonna said of the November vote, dismissing the idea that a low turnout had anything to do with the Republicans’ victory. “The people were tired of ineffective government and high taxes.”
Altadonna was also highly critical of the decision by Roger Bogsted, chairman of the Long Island Conservative Party, not to endorse Mangano in the county executive’s race.
Nearly all Republicans running for office in Nassau County receive the Conservative Party line. If Mangano had received the Conservative Party nod, which instead went to Steve Hansen, it is likely that his margin of victory would have been significantly higher and that no recount of the unofficial vote total would have taken place. Noting that Bogsted is also the county’s Commissioner of Consumer Affairs, Altadonna called his endorsement of Hansen a “blatant conflict of interest.” Hansen, too, works for the Consumer Affairs office.
When asked about the perennial issue of property taxes, Altadonna said that the “800-pound gorilla in the room” is the school tax. He called for the teachers union to work together with the county government to stem the tide of higher property taxes. “They [the teachers union] have to be realistic about salary increases and benefits,” Altadonna said.
In the Town of Oyster Bay, which is where Mangano’s 17th legislative district is located, the Republican challenger carried dozens of election districts in the Plainview to Massapequa corridor, ones that had voted Democratic in 2005. Mangano made similar gains in such villages as Old Brookville, Brookville, Muttontown, East Norwich, Upper Brookville, Bayville, and Oyster Bay.
In 2005, Suozzi won over 800 election districts to a little more than 200 for his challenger, Gregory Peterson. This year, according to unofficial results, Mangano won 629 election districts to 496 for Suozzi. And so, many of the county’s pressing problems that Suozzi emphasized during his administration, such as property taxes and keeping young people on the Island, are now the Republican Party’s responsibilities.