MINEOLA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Cracking down on government corruption has become a key issue in the race for Nassau County’s district attorney.

Acting DA Madeline Singas, a Democrat, is facing Republican Kate Murray, who has served as the supervisor of the Town of Hempstead since 2003, WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall reported.

Singas said after state Sen. Dean Skelos was charged with conspiracy and extortion, she began a comprehensive investigation into the contracting process in the county. An indictment alleges a medical malpractice insurer provided Skelos’ son with a no-show job while it lobbied Skelos on legislative matters.

“We found that the process was glaringly deficient,” Singas said of the review. “We made recommendations, forced the county executive to establish his own panel. This was groundbreaking. Nobody had ever done it before.”

As CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan reported, Singas has 24 years of respected experience in criminal law.

“Now it is a dead heat. Voters are sending a message. They want a prosecutor to be district attorney,” she said.

Murray said, if elected DA, she would be tough on corruption cases.

“Several years ago, there was a member of my own administration in the Town of Hempstead who had allegations of wrongdoing,” she said. “I investigated them, found the allegations to be credible, and I personally picked up the phone to (then-District Attorney) Kathleen Rice.”

Murray said running a town of 800,000 residents gives her the leadership skills and experience needed to be the county’s next DA.

She has established a reputation as an honest town supervisor who delivers on promises.

“That is exactly what I have been doing in America’s largest township for the past 13 years. So I know those leadership experiences and principals will absolutely translate to the DA’s office,” Murray said.

Voters told CBS2’s McLogan they had three main wishes; an end to the scourge of heroin, improved police-community relations, and a fighter of political corruption.

The county now has more registered democrats than republicans.

“Even people who like Kate Murray and know her are not sure the is the office they want her to serve in,” Lawrence Levy, Hofstra University, National Center for Suburban Studies said.

Singas questioned Murray’s ability to get the job done.

“Kate Murray is a sweet woman, but she doesn’t have the skill set, knowledge or qualifications required to be the district attorney,” she said.

Murray said she is strong, smart, and beholden to no one.

“No matter the political stripe you wear, no matter what uniform you wear, no matter what social status you occupy here in Nassau County, bottom line is, if you do something wrong you will be prosecuted by me,” she said.

Murray, the daughter of an FBI agent has been endorsed by police and county workers. Singas, a first generation Greek-American, has been endorsed by numerous editorial boards. Now, it’s down to the wire.

 

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