Nassau Dems pick up County Legislature seat with Lafazan’s win

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Arnold Drucker (D-Plainview) celebrated his victory over challenger Angel Cepeda (R-Plainview) at The Inn at New Hyde Park with fellow Democrats Tuesday night. (Photo by Amelia Camurati)

Leading a team of young volunteers averaging 16 years old, Joshua Lafazan (D-Syosset), 23, won election to the Nassau County Legislature on Tuesday.

Lafazan defeated Republican incumbent Donald MacKenzie in District 18 with 55.9 percent of the 14,436 votes in the district, which covers East Hills, Greenvale, Woodbury, Syosset, Laurel Hollow, Oyster Bay Cove, Oyster Bay, Cove Neck, Centre Island, Bayville, Mill Neck, Lattingtown, Locust Valley, Matinecock, the Brookvilles, Muttontown, East Norwich and Glen Head.

With Lafazan’s win, the Republican majority in the County Legislature shrinks by one seat. It will have 11 Republicans and eight Democrats.

During an emotional victory speech, Lafazan, a recent Harvard graduate, thanked his parents, his campaign staff and his volunteers, mostly high school and college students.

“What we set out to do is completely unique,” Lafazan said at his victory party in Syosset. “It’s never been done before to have a team with the average age of 16 … they said I was crazy, they not only said I was too young to run for legislator at 23, but they said no one will take a 16-year-old seriously. Boy, were they wrong.”

Lafazan, the youngest public official in state history after his election to the Syosset Board of Education in May of his senior year in 2012, pushed his campaign through social media and spent hours going door to door with his staff and volunteers.

Lafazan said in an interview with Blank Slate Media he will focus his time in office on county corruption and believes instituting term limits across the board would help fight  corruption. Lafazan also said he will work to represent the millennial generation to which he belongs.

“If anybody tells you that you are too young to do something, they are wrong, and if you think they are right, remember what we did this night,” Lafazan said.

District 16 incumbent Arnold Drucker (D-Plainview) was elected to his first full term Tuesday with 61.8 percent of the 15,187 votes in the district composed of Old Westbury, Roslyn Heights, Plainview, Old Bethpage, Jericho, Syosset, Woodbury and Hicksville.

“The voters of Nassau County have spoken,” Drucker said. “They’re tired of corruption in the county, they’re tired of the culture that’s been going on for decades. They’re tired of the cronyism from the pay-to-play politics that’s been going on far too long.”

Drucker defeated Angel Cepeda (R-Plainview) who ran unsuccessfully for the same seat against the late Judy Jacobs in 2015.

“It’s a disappointing evening, but definitely gives us something to work towards, that we need to regain public trust. Our values are important to this region, but it’s definitely a disappointing evening,” Cepeda said.

Nassau County District 8 incumbent Vincent Muscarella (R-West Hempstead) garnered 66 percent of the vote, beating his challenger, Carl Gerrato, by approximately 4,800 votes. Muscarella celebrated his victory with the Nassau County Republican Committee at Mirelle’s Restaurant in Westbury Tuesday night.

Muscarella’s district covers Franklin Square, Floral Park, Bellerose, Bellerose Terrace and West Hempstead and portions of Elmont, New Hyde Park and Stewart Manor.

“I am kind of quizzical. The residents of the 8th legislature were confident to elect me and I look forward to serving them again,” Muscarella said. “On a larger scale, I’m disappointed. I would’ve loved to serve with Jack Martins, but I’ve served with Laura Curran, I work with her well and the county will move on.”

Democrat Mal Nathan, who stayed in the race despite undergoing heart surgery about a month ago, lost to Republican incumbent Richard Nicolello in the District 9 race. Nicolello ended the night with 62.94 percent of the 14,932 votes cast for the seat.

The district includes Plandome, Plandome Heights, Plandome Manor, Munsey Park, Roslyn Estates, Albertson, Williston Park, East Williston, Mineola, Garden City Park and New Hyde Park.

“I’m humbled, and gratified to be re-elected, along with many of my colleagues,” Nicolello said.

In District 10, which is composed of the entire Great Neck Peninsula, Manhasset Hills, and North Hills and parts of Albertson, Garden City Park, Herricks, Manhasset, North New Hyde Park and Searingtown, Legislator Ellen Birnbaum (D-Great Neck) defeated challenger David Adhami (R-Great Neck) with 65 percent of the vote, but Adhami said he is not giving up on a potential run in the future.

“I’m feeling ready to run again without a doubt,” Adhami said. “I’m definitely running again. Nobody’s seen the last of me yet.”

Incumbent Delia DeRiggi-Whitton (D-Glen Cove) defeated challenger Zefy Christopoulos (R-Glen Cove) with 69 percent of the votes for the 11th District, which includes Sands Point, Port Washington, Roslyn, Roslyn Harbor, Glen Head, Glenwood, Sea Cliff and Glen Cove.

In District 3, incumbent Carrié Solages handily defeated his Republican challenger, Paul Sapienza, with 72 percent of the 11,814 votes.

District 3 encompasses Elmont, Valley Stream, South Floral Park, Inwood, Lawrence and Woodmere.

Solages was charged this summer with two misdemeanors — third-degree assault and endangering the welfare of a child — after an argument with his girlfriend turned violent, Nassau County police said.

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