Mangano win credited to the clearest message
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Even Suozzi agreed Mangano and the Republicans had a stronger message. “Their message was very simple and very direct: ‘Tom Suozzi raised your taxes and he got a raise,’” Suozzi said. “Now, I raised the taxes 11 years ago, fixed the most serious fiscal crisis in the history of Nassau County, and then I didn’t raise it for six years in a row. I think I should have tried to defend that record more solidly.”
Residents also felt that Mangano is someone who empathizes with them on the burden of owning a home, Levy explained. DeGrace added that Mangano was actually able to tout that he reduced taxes, based on the repeal of the home energy tax during his first days in office in 2010.
DeGrace said that he believes Suozzi focused on issues that were not pertinent to the election, and voters didn’t respond to Suozzi’s attacks on Mangano tying the county executive to the Tea Party and the NRA.
“I worked very hard,” Suozzi said. “It wasn’t about working hard. Their message was better and simpler to understand. It was about taxes, and they won.”
“I give a lot of credit to the voters, mainly because they could see through a lot of the rhetoric that was going on,” added Norma Gonsalves, presiding officer of the Republican-led county Legislature. “And I think they also assessed what has been done over the past four years. And I think they liked what they saw.”
While Suozzi is charismatic, and had the support of Gov. Andrew Cuomo and former president Bill Clinton, DeGrace said Mangano’s simple message helped him sail to an easy victory, and believes Mangano picked up the majority of independent voters, as well as those who were undecided until right before the election. He also said Mangano’s big win helped other Republican candidates such as Comptroller George Maragos and legislators.
What’s next for Democrats
Levy said that Suozzi’s loss is not a debacle for the Democratic party, noting victories elsewhere in the county. “Most Democratic incumbents won,” he said. “[The party’s] rising stars are still stars. There is no reason for the party to panic but what they need to do is figure out what went wrong in the Suozzi campaign.”