Written by Joe Rizza Friday, 06 November 2009 00:00
Nassau County residents have voted to change the leadership in the Nassau County Legislature as the Republican caucus has taken the majority of the 19-member Legislature for the first time in a decade. As of press time, the race for Nassau County Executive was still undecided as Democrat Tom Suozzi and Republican Ed Mangano were locked in a heated battle that may be decided by absentee ballots.
In the Nassau County’s 3rd Legislative District, longtime Republican incumbent John Ciotti retained his position, defeating Nina Petraro Bastardi by a 6,252 to 4,654 margin. In the 8th Legislative District, longtime Republican incumbent Vincent Muscarella defeated Gaspare Tumminello by an 11,005 to 3,154 margin.
The race that enabled the Republicans to take back the majority of the Legislature occurred in the 7th Legislative District where longtime Democrat incumbent Jeffrey Toback was defeated by Republican Howard Kopel. In the 14th Legislative District, longtime Democrat incumbent David Mejias trails Republican Joseph Belesi by 28 votes.
Prior to the election, Republican candidates vowed to repeal the 2.5 percent Home Energy Tax as their first order of business. Now, they will get their chance. “That wasn’t political spin. That is reality,” said Ciotti of repealing the tax.
The race for county executive is still undecided. Suozzi is ahead of Mangano by 237 votes but there are still numerous absentee ballots that must be counted. Some 12,000 absentee ballots were mailed out and so far 6,000 have been returned; to be valid, absentee ballots must be postmarked by Nov. 2 and received by Nassau County Board of Elections no later than Nov. 10. It could be at least two weeks for a county executive is declared.
Mangano remains optimistic that he will be the next county executive. “Clearly, the people of Nassau County want to see change in Nassau County government,” he said. “I am hopeful I will be leading that change and I thank everyone who supported me in my grassroots campaign and platform to stop wasteful spending, fix the property tax assessment system, stop the energy tax and create local jobs and opportunities.”
In other Nassau County races, District Attorney Kathleen Rice was successful in her re-election bid, defeating challenger Joy Watson. However, it appears as though Nassau County could have a new comptroller as Republican challenger George Maragos leads Democrat incumbent Howard Weitzman by 576 votes. Also, in the race for County Clerk, Republican incumbent Maureen O’Connell kept her position by defeating Democratic challenger Carrie Solages.
In the Town of Hempstead, Republican incumbent Kate Murray will remain Supervisor as she easily defeated Democratic challenger Kristen McElroy and all three incumbents on the town council — Dorothy Goosby, Gary Hudes and Anthony Santino — retained their seats as did Town Clerk Mark Bonilla.