MINEOLA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — The Nassau County Executive is facing federal corruption charges, and the race to replace him is too close to call.
A former state senator is challenging a county legislator, and voters want to know where they stand on the issue of gangs.
The growing threat of gang violence is on the minds of Long Island voters. As CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan reported, its grisly shadow has emerged as a spotlight in the race for Nassau County Executive.
An evocative flier from Jack Martins’ camp claims Laura Curran’s campaign is funded by New York City special interest groups who vow to serve illegal immigrants and protect violent criminals from deportation.
“I am speechless. It is just fear-mongering at its worst, and I think a real sign of desperation,” Curran said.
Martins said he isn’t the one linking Curran’s campaign to MS-13.
“Frankly, it is the groups she has around her,” he said. “That want sanctuary counties, that don’t want violent felons to be deported.”
Curran said she doesn’t favor sanctuary counties.
“I do not believe it is appropriate for Nassau County to be a sanctuary county. We have to make sure our police can work with the federal partners they need to in our federal government to do the right kinds of investigations and the right kind of enforcement,” Curran said.
There have been 23 violent deaths across Long Island linked to MS-13 since 2016. In Nassau County 17 young Latinos have been reported missing.
Gangs are grabbing headlines, and the challenge now, is how best to conquer them.
“Appoint a gang czar for Nassau County under the direction of the commissioner and county executive, give them the power and county resources to actually go directly at these gangs,” Martins said.
“We need to make sure that our cops have the resources they need. They are doing a great job, but they need to be able to work with federal partners and with the DA to get these violent criminals out of our communities,” Curran said.
In a recent Siena College/Newsday Poll, 49 percent of those questioned said they either had no opinion or didn’t know the candidates.
Martins and Curran have just one week left to sway voters.
The last race for County Executive brought out just 28 percent of registered voters in Nassau.