MINEOLA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) - There is the potential for a Suozzi-Mangano rematch for Nassau County Executive in November.
The now 50-year-old Tom Suozzi has confirmed by e-mail that he will seek the Democratic nomination for his old job.
In a statement to Newsday, Suozzi criticized the current county executive, Ed Mangano, who defeated him four years ago in a tight contest, for presiding over a decline in the county.
Just 400 votes separated the two following a recount.
Suozzi reflected on eight years of balanced budgets during his time in office. He also cited a reduction in crime during his time as county executive.
“If Tom Suozzi does get the nomination, that’s a very clear choice. The policies are there,” Mangano told WCBS 880 Long Island Bureau Chief Mike Xirinachs on Wednesday.
Party leaders said they recruited Suozzi to rescue Nassau.
“I felt the need was so great to have someone who could take on Ed Mangano and win,” Nassau County Democratic Party Chairman Jay Jacobs told CBS 2′s Carolyn Gusoff.
Suozzi said his campaign is better financed now and believes he’ll have an easier time in a rematch. He’s confident voters will choose him.
The decision sets the stage for a lively rematch.
“I think it’s interesting,” one Nassau resident told Gusoff.
“It was a very close race the last time and he was shocked when he lost and I think he has kind of a big ego and he would probably want to run again,” said another woman.
“It’s like a boxing match. I think it’s going to be a good rematch and I think he has a good shot to win,” a Nassau resident added.
“Let’s have a healthy debate of the issues. There’s very clear contrasts here and let’s move forward and let the families in Nassau County decide,” Mangano said.
Some Democrats said Suozzi has his work cut out for him to win back voters who ousted him at the height of the recession.
“People were angry. They looked around and mostly saw Democrats running Nassau County, New York State and the federal government and they took it out on Democrats,” said Nassau legislator Wayne Wink.
Nassau Democrats were so convinced Suozzi would win last time around that they left more than $1 million unspent in his war chest, Gusoff reported. Party leaders said this time, they will take nothing for granted.
Mangano refused to say whether he’d prefer to face Suozzi or another Democrat.
Suozzi is expected to hold a press conference Thursday morning to formally kick off his campaign.
Before taking on Mangano for his old job, Suozzi will compete with North Hempstead Town Supervisor Jon Kaiman and Roslyn businessman Adam Haber for the Democratic nomination.
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