U.S. Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford) endorsed Republican Jack Martins for Nassau County executive on Wednesday as three labor unions backed his Democratic opponent, Laura Curran.
King, a former county comptroller and Town of Hempstead councilman, said Martins’ experience fixing Mineola’s finances as the village mayor and cutting taxes as a state senator makes him the best fit for Nassau’s top elected office.
“Jack Martins is the change in leadership we need to get Nassau County back in the right direction,” King said in a statement. “He has the independence and integrity that Nassau needs.”
First elected to Congress in 1992, King represents the 2nd Congressional District, covering part of southeast Nassau County and part of southwest Suffolk County.
King, a longtime figure in Nassau’s Republican Party, rose to national prominence in 2016 as a surrogate for then-presidential candidate Donald Trump.
King endorsed Edward Mangano, the sitting GOP county executive who was indicted in federal corruption charges in October, in his 2009 and 2013 campaigns. King’s congressional campaign gave a total of $1,150 to Mangano’s campaign in those years.
Republican officials have lined up behind Martins since the GOP nominated him over Mangano, who is reportedly weighing a run for a third term anyway.
Curran, a county legislator from Baldwin and the Democratic Party’s county executive nominee, was endorsed Wednesday by the Sheet Metal Air-Rail-Transportation Union’s Transportation Division; the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union Local 1102; and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1049.
Their backing gives Curran a total of 16 endorsements from labor groups in the race.
“As County Executive, I will stand with the hard working men and women these unions represent, and will fight for better wages, benefits, and workplace protections,” Curran said in a statement. “For too long, our government has wasted millions of taxpayer dollars to serve only the elected and the connected, not the middle class.”
Curran faces a September primary against county Comptroller George Maragos, a former Republican who switched parties last year.
Maragos’ campaign says he is not accepting endorsements from elected officials or institutional groups in an effort to stay independent from special interests.
A Maragos campaign spokesman did not offer any specific examples of endorsement offers he has refused.
Also on Wednesday, Jack Schnirman, the Long Beach city manager and Democratic nominee for Nassau County comptroller, was backed by 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East.
Schirman faces a Democratic primary against Ama Yawson, a former finance executive and small business owner who is running on Maragos’ ticket of “independent” Democrats.
Steve Labriola, the current chief compliance officer in Nassau’s Office of Management and Budget, is the Republican candidate for the seat.