Written by Jaime L. Tomeo Friday, 06 November 2009 00:00
(Editor’s Note: The election numbers contained in this story were from the Nassau County Board of Elections and were still unofficial as of press time.)
Residents headed for the polls on this past Tuesday, Election Day, to vote for the candidates of their choice.
As it currently stands, the county executive race will be determined through a recount and absentee ballots. 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 before a county executive is declared.
Incumbent and Democratic, Independent and Working Families candidate Tom Suozzi received 118,111 votes, Republican and Tax Revolt Party candidate Mangano received 117,874 votes and Conservative challenger Steven Hansen received 9,552 votes.
In a press conference Wednesday, Suozzi called the dead-heat race a sign of issues larger than his contest with Mangano.
“People are mad as hell about property taxes,” he said. “You don’t see this result in one place. This is going on all over the region. People are unhappy and they take it out on incumbents.”
Suozzi said that he was not shocked by the close race and that he believed it was bringing an important issue to a head - the fact that the bulk of the taxes overburdening people are coming from school taxes, which Albany should cap.
“The voters are angry, and I share their anger,” he added. “What we need to do is channel that anger now and hope that some good comes out of these results. It is school taxes that are crushing Long Island. If I am defeated, it will be a wake up call to other elected officials that, ‘If it happened to Suozzi, it could happen to me.’ If I win, I will continue the crusade to stop Albany from pushing costs down. Everybody has to wake up.”
“Clearly, the people of Nassau County want to see change in Nassau County government,” said Mangano. “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.”
Incumbent Kathleen Rice, the Democratic, Working Families Party and Independence Party candidate, was re-elected to her second, four-year term as Nassau County District Attorney. Rice, who received 129,508 votes, defeated Republican and Conservative Party candidate Joy Watson, who received 109,526 votes.
As of press time, it appeared that Republican challenger George Maragos had defeated incumbent Democratic Howard Weitzman. Maragos received 115,473 votes; Weitzman, who was bidding for his third, four-year term, received 114,897 votes. With 576 votes separating the two candidates, a spokesperson for Weitzman said the final outcome will be determined once all absentee ballots are counted. The comptroller term is two years.
Republican Maureen O’Connell was re-elected to her second, four-year term as Nassau County Clerk. O’Connell received 142,774 votes to defeat Democratic Party candidate Carrie Solages, who received 86,482.
A count of absentee ballots will also determine the result of the heated 14th Legislative District race between Democratic incumbent Legislator Dave Mejias and Republican challenger Joseph Belesi. Belesi, who was also running on the Conservative Party Line, received 7,184 votes and Mejias, who was also running on the Independence and Working Families party lines, received 7,156 votes.
“I’m cautiously optimistic,” Belesi said. “I think we have the votes and we took two seats in the legislature this year.”
“I am grateful for all of the support I have received and I am optimistic that when all the votes are counted I will continue to have the honor of representing the hard working families from my hometown,” Mejias said.
In the 17th Legislative District, Republican Rose Marie Walker defeated Democratic candidate Arshad Majid.
Walker, who was also running on the Conservative and Independence Party lines, received 9,889 votes, and Majid, who was also running on the Working Families Party line, received 3,420 votes.
Legislator terms are two years and the Town of Oyster Bay will appoint someone to fill the remainder of Walker’s council seat when she is sworn in as legislator in January 2010.
On the Democrats losing the legislative majority for the first time since 1999, Presiding Officer Diane Yatauro (D-Glen Cove) said, “Political winds are often influenced by prevailing socio-economic conditions. Last night we witnessed significant voter opposition to incumbents, which severely affected many Democrats. Voter anger was a product of the now year-long recession which caused massive unemployment, a serious credit crisis and real fear in the hearts of tax payers across the nation.
“We in Nassau County had to make some tough and, in some cases, unpopular decisions to keep our county solvent. As I congratulate my Republican colleagues on re-taking the legislative majority, I pledge to continue to work toward bringing financial stability to our county government.”
Peter J. Schmitt (R-Massapequa) has served as Minority Leader in the legislature since 1999. On Tuesday, Schmitt was re-elected in his district.
“We are thrilled to be taking over the majority,” Schmitt said. “We look forward to doing what we told the residents we would do. We are going to repeal that home energy tax and we’re going to cut spending and we are going to repair the institutional integrity of the legislature.”
Despite strong Democratic opposition, Republicans won all open seats in the Town of Oyster Bay races, which include supervisor, three council seats and town clerk.
In the race for Oyster Bay Supervisor, residents returned incumbent Supervisor John Venditto to a sixth term in office. Venditto, who ran on the Republican, Conservative and Independence Party lines, received 43,483 votes while his challenger, Democrat Keith Scalia, received 16,158 votes. Supervisor terms are two years.
Residents of Oyster Bay Town also voted for three of six candidates for town board. The three Republican incumbents, Chris Coschignano, Elizabeth Faughnan and Joseph Pinto defeated the three Democrat challengers Matt Meng, Erin Reilley and Doug Watson.
Vote totals were as follows: Coschignano 37,975, Pinto 35,976, Faughnan 35,889, Reilley 19,613, Watson 18,763 and Meng 18,315.
Oyster Bay Town Board terms are two years voted for at-large.
In the race for Oyster Bay Town Clerk, incumbent Steve Labriola, who ran on the Republican, Independence and Conservative Party lines, defeated Democratic Party candidate John Capobianco. Labriola garnered 39,995 votes and Capobianco received 17,872. Town clerk terms are two years.