NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The race to replace Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano was too close to call on Tuesday night, but one candidate has declared victory.
Curran had declared victory late Tuesday, with a 51 to 48 percent lead over Martins with 99 percent of precincts reporting.
“Tonight, Nassau voted to end the culture of corruption and to give our County the fresh start it desperately deserves,” Curran said upon declaring victory. “I am truly humbled and honored for the great responsibility the people of Nassau County have trusted me with. We made history tonight thanks to the tireless effort of so many who believe the same thing I do: that there is a better future in store for Nassau County and that we can create a government that is accountable to taxpayers – that’s why we won this race.”
Curran voters said they turned out to vote out corruption and they think Curran is the person to right the ship.
If Curran has indeed prevailed, she will become Long Island’s first ever female county executive.
As CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff reported, the mood at GOP headquarters was reserved.
“I compared the numbers to 2013 and 2015 both of which were off year elections and these numbers fall kind of right in the middle, so I’ll be as surprised as you are when we get the results,” Nassau County GOP Chairman Joseph Mondello said.
Martins had yet to make an appearance in front of supporters, on what was expected to be a late night.
Martins hoped his promise of experience and ethics reform would resonate with corruption weary residents. A Martins proposal on the ballot would strip corrupt elected officials of their pensions.
“All of the abuses that have taken place in the past are a thing of the past because we are going to restore law and order, and checks and balances,” Martins said.
Like Martins, Mangano who is leaving office under indictment, is a Republican.
As CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan reported, number one on voters’ minds seemed to be endemic corruption, dishonesty, and backroom deals.
“Corruption I would say, because it really tears apart the fabric of our trust for who we elect,” Diana Wenutu said.
“I think the biggest issue is, we need more honest leaders,” Wilson Lam said.
Both candidates promised to clean up Nassau County government.
“We deserve a government that lives up to the people who live here that is open, that is transparent and is not corrupt,” Curran said.
Curran called for an overhaul the contract procurement process, limiting campaign contributions and creating an independent inspector general.
Martins wanted to strip pensions from corrupt officials, supported stronger vetting practices for county jobs and opposed an inspector general.
Crime and drugs were also at the front of mind for many voters.
“I would say the heroin epidemic is a very big problem that the county as a whole is facing and needs to be taken down. Also gang violence,” JP Iacona said.
“What’s going on with gangs you know, for our young people in Long Island. Our children, our future,” Rocil Melendez added.
Tax reform and the county’s assessment problems also weighed heavily on voters’ minds.