“It was very close and I guess that’s why the Democrats thought it would be a good idea to try it again,” Klein said of the last election, which was decided by fewer than 400 votes. “I think [Suozzi] was absolutely shocked. I think the Republicans were also very surprised that [Mangano] won.”
In 2009, most observers picked Suozzi to easily win a third term. This year’s outcome, Klein says, is very difficult to predict. “It’s likely to be a very close election,” he said, “or it could be a runaway either way.”
Other county races
County executive is not the only race that will feature familiar foes. Four years ago, Howard Weitzman lost his job as county comptroller to George Maragos. Like Suozzi, Weitzman is looking to get his old job back.
In another race separated by only a few hundred votes, Maragos, a Republican from Russell Gardens, defeated Weitzman, a Democrat from Great Neck. Weitzman was the comptroller for eight years.
District Attorney Kathleen Rice is seeking her third term as Nassau’s top prosecutor. She is the only Democrat currently holding a county-wide office and is being challenged by Republican Howard Sturim.
County Clerk Maureen O’Connell is also up for re-election. The Republican is being challenged by Democrat Laura Gillen.
Republicans, who hold a 10-9 lead in the county Legislature, are looking to retain power there, as well. This year, the Legislative district maps have been redrawn, meaning many voters will see a different incumbent on the ballot.
The new districts, which were created by the Legislature’s majority and approved in a 10-9 vote along party lines, will take effect on Jan. 1. The map was criticized by Democrats and independent voter rights organizations for carving up communities, including splitting up the Five Towns into four districts. Republicans have countered that the plan meets all constitutional requirements of one person, one vote, and created a third minority district.