MINEOLA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A nontraditional primary takes place in Nassau County on Tuesday, pitting two Democrats against each other.
As CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan reported, they are both running to replace Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano, who stands accused in a corruption probe.
Mangano claims he is innocent of federal corruption charges and will not be seeking reelection. The frustrated voters of Nassau County are sending strong signals to those seeking his seat.
“Truth – but I don’t know if that’s even possible,” one woman said.
“Don’t lie to us, don’t steal our money,” another man said. “That’s really about it.”
Two Democrats are now vying for the position.
“I’m clearly an outsider shaking the system up,” said Democratic candidate George Maragos.
Maragos is the county comptroller and has been in office for eight years. He is a relative newcomer to politics.
“I have been very independent as a legislator, and that’s something I will continue as county executive,” said candidate Laura Curran.
Curran, a county legislator, has been endorsed by the Nassau County Democratic chairman after party loyalists questioned Maragos’ decision to leave the Republican Party and become a Democrat.
“People would perceive a dual loyalty,” one voter said.
“Life experiences that we all go through changes us,” Maragos countered. “And we should evolve.”
Curran — a mother of three from Baldwin, a former newspaper reporter, and a school board member – has outraised her opponent 15-1 and garnered endorsements.
“To me, it validates the fact that I have the right message and am the right messenger to bring it,” Curran said.
Comptroller Maragos of Glen Cove, a father of two, worked in private industry for more than 35 years. He is mostly self-funding his campaign, and is appealing to new voters in minority communities.
“Rising to some of the highest levels in corporate America, having achieved the American dream as an immigrant, I think I am the best qualified,” Maragos said.
Both Maragos and Curran blame corruption and patronage – in part – for high property taxes. They also support term limits.
“I have had a front row seat to a lot of the corruption and shenanigans in our local government and I want to fix it,” Curran said.
How many will turn out to vote Tuesday? During the last high-profile Democratic primary four years ago, former county Executive Tom Suozzi sought to unseat Mangano and reclaim his old job – and just 9 percent of eligible voters cast a ballot.