Dems nominate Laura Curran for county executive

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Nassau County Legislator Laura Curran (D-Baldwin) accepts the Democratic nomination for county executive on Wednesday. (Photo by Noah Manskar)

The Nassau County Democratic Committee officially nominated Laura Curran for county executive Wednesday night, cementing the party’s support for the second-term county legislator.

Curran leads the Democratic ticket in this year’s county elections as the party seeks to capitalize on political corruption scandals that have scarred the Republican Party.

Curran, a Baldwin resident, would be the first woman and third Democrat to ever hold the county executive seat. She is vying to replace Edward Mangano, the current Republican county executive who faces federal corruption charges.

“I’m going to break up that good old boys network, shatter Nassau’s highest glass ceiling and return the government to the taxpayers we should be serving,” Curran told hundreds of Democratic committee members and activists at the party convention Wednesday night in Garden City.

Joining Curran on the ticket are Jack Schnirman, the Long Beach city manager, for county comptroller; and Dean Bennett, a businessman who worked under Suozzi and Gov. Andrew Cuomo, for county clerk.

Democrats also nominated 18 candidates for county Legislature who will try to give the party a majority there for the first time in about a decade. Democrats currently hold seven of 19 legislative seats.

The committee has not chosen a candidate for the 7th Legislative District, covering Rockville Centre, Oceanside and parts of the Five Towns.

Curran still faces a September primary against George Maragos, the formerly Republican county comptroller who has run an unrelenting campaign since switching parties in September.

State Assemblyman Charles Lavine was also seeking the party’s nomination but ended his campaign and endorsed Curran last week.

Lavine formally nominated Curran Wednesday night, urging the party to unite behind her.

“Nassau County’s government must be a government that can be trusted and relied upon and respected by all its citizens,” Lavine said.

In her speech Wednesday, Curran said the only way to right the county’s ship is to force the helm from the hands of the Republican machine, which she cast as inherently corrupt.

Of the seven Nassau County officials who have been accused or convicted for various crimes since 2015, five have been Republicans.

If she defeats Maragos in the primary, Curran will likely face former state Sen. Jack Martins, whom Republicans nominated for county executive two weeks ago. Mangano has lost the GOP’s support but has not said whether he will seek re-election without it.

Curran is a political neophyte compared to Martins — she won her first race, for the Baldwin school board, in 2011, a year after Martins was elected to the state Senate and eight years after he started his tenure as mayor of Mineola. Martins left the Senate last year after losing to Suozzi in the 3rd Congressional District race.

After a career as a reporter with the New York Daily News, Curran worked in Suozzi’s administration and went on to serve for three years on the Baldwin school board. She was first elected to the Legislature in 2013.

Maragos did not attend Wednesday’s convention, but in a statement said the event was merely a “rubber stamp” for Jay Jacobs, the Nassau Democratic chairman, and Curran, his “unqualified” candidate.

“Unlike national or state Democratic conventions where candidates appeal to the voters in primaries before the convention, the Chairman has bypassed our Democratic Voters and handpicked his personal choice,” Maragos said in the statement.

Martins, an Old Westbury resident who built alliances with Democrats as a senator, has pledged to restore trust in government and stabilize Nassau’s struggling finances.

He has largely stayed above the fray of scandals within his party and called for Mangano’s resignation in October when he pleaded not guilty to federal corruption charges stemming from an alleged bribe and kickback scheme.

“While Laura Curran is focused on the past as County Executive Jack Martins will make sure Nassau’s best years are ahead and put the county back on track,” E. O’Brien Murray, Martins’ campaign strategist, said in a statement. “Jack Martins has a record of getting results for middle class Nassau County families.”

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