Town of Hempstead, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – There are some hotly contested races in Nassau County.

Hempstead Town had long been considered the heart of the nation’s Republican party.

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Hoping to preserve the slim majority in the legislature, and win back control of Hempstead – the largest township in America – Nassau Republicans have a strategy.

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“Is reassessment an issue in this campaign? You’re darn right it is,” said Nassau Republican Chairman Joseph Cairo.

Cairo believe it is not fearmongering to remind voters half of them will see their taxes go up with Nassau’s new property reassessments. But, as Democrats point out, the other half will see a drop.

“The Republican playbook here is the same. They either want to scare voters or make them angry,” said Jay Jacobs, state Democratic chairman of Nassau County.

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Jacobs says many voters wanted changes after a decade of frozen assessments under the Republicans, and claims polls show residents were sickened by a pervasive culture of corruption in Hempstead Town, two years ago electing the first Democrat in 100 years.

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Hempstead Town Supervisor Laura Gillen‘s platform? Continue ridding the town of a century of political patronage pay-to-play.

“Bloated salaries, bloated patronage, high executive level staffing and payroll. That’s where all the money went, and residents are being cheated,” Gillen said.

Her opponent Donald Clavin has been a respected town receiver of taxes, but in a controversial mailing is reminding voters that taxes could go up under the Democrats, though Gillen’s budgets have approved tax cuts.

“I am glad to stand up with the residents and make sure that they are not getting a back door increase in their taxes, that it’s being done fairly and correctly,” Clavin said.

Voters have issues on their minds. They told CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan they’re concerned about honesty in government, taxes and opioids, among other issues.

GOP leaders in Albany say if Republicans want to win statewide offices again, they must have a strong showing in Hempstead Tuesday, saying “as goes Hempstead Town, so goes the state of New York.”


When to vote: Polls are open 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 5.

Where to vote: Visit to find your polling place.

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What’s on the ballot: Read a sample ballot.