(Laura Gillen new Hempstead Town Supervisor) With the spectre of corruption front-and-center in Tuesday’s election races in Nassau County and the Town of Hempstead history repeated itself when Democrat Laura Curran won the race for County Executive and Democrat Laura Gillen pulled off the local political stunner of the young century by defeating incumbent town Supervisor Anthony Santino.
Democrat Laura Curran has been elected the next County Executive of Nassau County
Both Curran and Gillen, in their campaigns, made issue of what they believed was corruption being perpetrated on town and county residents. Gillen called the town a “family and friends” environment in which the best jobs went to residents connected to town officials either through family or as friends.
Curran maintained that residents were paying a “corruption tax” for county officials doling out plum contracts to connected friends, which ultimately lead to state Senator Dean Skelos being convicted of bribery and other federal charges when providing jobs to his son through county officials.
Both Curran and Gillen are calling for the county and the town to hire independent inspector generals that are not under the purview of the county executive or town supervisor to oversee all government contracts objectively.
Erin King Sweeney, town council woman of the 5th Councilmanic District, said in a statement: “Congratulations to Laura Gillen for a historic victory. Laura Gillen and Laura Curran made history today and finally broke the glass ceiling. I look forward to working with Supervisor-Elect Gillen on the Town Board.
“As a proud Republican, I look forward to working to rebuilding the party and restoring it to its true principles and firmly rejecting the misguided politics of intimidation and ego.”
King Sweeney had become embroiled with Supervisor Santino over her request for an independent inspector general to oversee town contracts. Santino came to rebuff other proposals of hers as well, including an initiative to build a children’s park in south Merrick that would use Inter Municipal monies from the county to help build the park. When King Sweeney requested to be heard at board meetings on the monies from the county, Santino would table the request.
Santino had also developed a new ethics charter, which would have required King Sweeney to give up her seat in the next election because of an outside-income limitation in the new charter.
Town Councilwoman Erin King Sweeney enthusiastically supports both Curran and Gillen for breaking the glass ceiling
King-Sweeney has also worked with Curran, most recently on a downtown Baldwin project to revitalize Grand Avenue south of Sunrise Highway. When receiving county funds for the project appeared uncertain for the Democratic minority caucus, Curran crossed the aisle to vote with the majority Republicans to get the funds for the project.
While Curran’s opponent Jack Martins initially asked for time to study the results before conceding defeat, he conceded Wednesday after it was learned thousands of absentee ballots that hadn’t been counted tipped the scale in favor of Curran.
POLITICAL HISTORY FIRST MADE LAST YEAR
Local contemporary political history was first made last year when John Brooks ran against incumbent Michael Venditto for New York State’s 8th Senatorial District seat in Albany. Brooks squeaked by in a tight race to win the seat for a Democrat for the first time in over 50 years when it became apparent corruption was on trial.
John Venditto, supervisor of Oyster Bay, was indicted along with Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano on federal charges including bribery. The charges forced Mangano out of the race, leaving the path open for Curran’s candidacy – and win, and also forced the young Venditto’s loss.
As gathered from the Nassau County Board of Elections website, Curran garnered 139,925 votes from Democratic Party members, 5029 from Worker’s Party members and 2148 from Women’s Equality Party loyalists, for a total of 147,102 votes, or 51.01% of the eligible vote compared to Martin’s 139,204 votes, or 48.27%
Meanwhile, Gillen scored 76,246 votes from Democrats, 2845 votes from Worker’s Party loyalists and 1123 from Women’s Equality Party members for a total of 80,214 votes, or 50.69%, to Santino’s 77,946 votes, or 49.25 %.
Also winning in an upset was Democrat Sylvia Cabana for Hempstead Town Clerk over incumbent Nasrin Ahmad, 77,373 votes, or 50.77% to Ahmad’s 74,953 votes, or 49.18%
Winning the 19th Legislative District was incumbent Steve Rhoads over Democratic challenger Jeff Gold, 10,610 votes or 65.27%, to 8237 votes, or 43.68%.
Winning the 13th Legislative District seat, which Presiding Officer Norma Gonsalves has given up, was Tom McKevitt with 9798 votes, or 52.97%, to Eileen Napolitano’s 8690 votes, or 46.98%.