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Michael Giangregorio wins special election to county legislature

Autism advocate will succeed Steve Rhoads in seat


Michael Giangregorio will succeed Steve Rhoads on the Nassau County legislature, earning 59 percent of the Tuesday’s special election vote. When he takes office after the election is fully certified Giangregorio will allow Republicans to maintain their firm control over the chamber.

“I’m honored to be representing the people of the 19th district of Nassau County,” Giangregorio said upon winning. “I’ve met so many people through campaigning and I look forward to meeting many more of my constituents and representing everyone — and being a voice for those who may not have one in government.”

Rhoads leaves this seat the way he found it — through a special election. The district it represents spans from a portion of Freeport, starting at Woodcleft Avenue, all the way to Seaford. It includes the southern parts of Wantagh, Seaford, Bellmore and Merrick.

Rhoads first won the seat in 2015 when Legislator Dave Denenberg, a Democrat, resigned after being convicted of mail fraud. Rhoads exit was much more dignified: he was elected to the state Senate, defeating incumbent John Brooks in last November’s general election.

Rhoads — a personal injury lawyer at the time — won the special election over Rita Kestenbaum, and quickly became enormously popular in his district. He was known for his grassroots, door-to-door interactions with constituents.

This is something Giangregorio looks to emulate, now that he has been elected to this seat.

With Giangregorio’s election, Republicans not only maintain their legislative majority, but they still have a unified political voice with County Executive Bruce Blakeman, also a Republican.

But none of this is long-term. Nassau is gearing up for legislative redistricting, which could be a mix of good and bad news for both parties.

“I want to congratulate Michael on a great race and I wish him luck,” Robert Miles said, conceding the race to Giangregorio. “I want to thank the Democratic Party and all of our volunteers for their work and support. And I will continue to work to bring important reforms to the Nassau County government.”

Miles will keep his job as an attorney for the legislature’s Minority Caucus, so he will not be disappearing from county politics.

“I am looking forward to hitting the ground running representing the people of my district,” Giangregorio said. “Working with the majority in the legislature to improve the quality of life for those living in Nassau County to keep taxes low, to keep our streets safe. And to keep what I moved to Long Island to find, which was a good suburban life full of community. And this, ladies and gentlemen, is a community. So thank you all from the bottom of my heart for this honor. I promise that I will earn it for everyone in my district. And I look forward to doing wonderful things on Nassau County. Thank you so much.”