Republican Bruce Blakeman declares victory in Nassau executive race
Republican Bruce Blakeman declared victory in the Nassau County executive race early Wednesday, but outgoing Democrat Laura Curran did not concede.
“I’m not going to wait until I take office to get to work,” Blakeman told Newsday in an interview. “I will assemble a team and fix the broken reassessment system and make proposals to further reduce fees and taxes and restore law and order to the streets of Nassau County.”
In a conversation with reporters, Blakeman said: “I want to congratulate Laura Curran on her service to the county and now is the time to govern and keep our promises to fix the flawed rating system.”
In a statement Wednesday morning, Curran noted that there were “thousands of mail-in ballots yet to be counted – and more are coming. It’s not over and we have to trust the process.”
Curran continued, “Every resident of Nassau who has participated in this election must have the opportunity to have their voice heard. I have confidence in Nassau County and in the good work we have done over the past four years. The residents of Nassau taught a master class in resilience, and I have plenty of it in store. “
Curran, 53, is running for a second term against Blakeman, 66, of Atlantic Beach, a member of the Hempstead city council.
By 1 a.m., 100% of the constituencies had been enumerated.
Republicans voted in greater numbers than Democrats across Nassau on Tuesday, according to electoral council counts.
Of the 223,147 voters who turned out on Tuesday, 96,787 were registered Republicans, 76,385 were Democrats and 39,208 were not registered with any of the parties, according to Democratic Election Council Commissioner James Scheuerman.
As of Monday, the Nassau Electoral Council had received 19,895 mail-in ballots out of 38,348 requested.
Of the mail-in ballots that were returned, 11,341 were from registered Democrats, 5,575 from Republicans and 2,407 from non-party voters.
Absentee ballots stamped by Tuesday at the latest can continue to arrive by mail in counties.
The Nassau County executive race was the main contest among dozens of city, town and county government and judicial elections on Tuesday.
In addition to the city contests, district attorney seats were on the rise in Nassau and Suffolk counties, as were contests for the Sheriff of Suffolk and the Clerk and Comptroller of Nassau.
Curran is a former member of the Baldwin School Board and Nassau County lawmaker who was elected county executive in 2017.
Blakeman served as Deputy Supervisor of the City of Hempstead under the leadership of former Democratic Supervisor Laura Gillen. He was also commissioner of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
Curran’s program to reassess more than 385,000 residential properties, starting in the 2020-21 tax year, was a key issue in the county executive race.
It was the first update in property values since 2011, when then county executive Edward Mangano, a Republican, froze tax rolls as he tried to determine how often the houses had to be appraised. The freeze lasted for eight tax years.
Curran said his administration, by updating appraisals, produced an accurate tax roll and a fair system for valuing properties.
Blakeman said the county produced a flawed roll and raised taxes for many homeowners.
During the campaign, Curran mainly highlighted his record in strengthening public safety, the county’s high coronavirus vaccination rate and successive budget surpluses.
Curran issued rules to strengthen the county’s code of ethics. An executive order banned county employees from accepting gifts from vendors, including holiday baskets.
She oversaw efforts to revitalize the Hub, the 72-acre property surrounding the Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale.
And she has a program in place to send checks for $ 375 to many county landlords using $ 100 million in federal pandemic aid.
Blakeman criticized Curran’s cash assistance program as the equivalent of sending “peanuts” to residents of Nassau, where taxes are high.
In recent days, Blakeman’s campaign has appealed to Tory voters on his Facebook page, expressing support for FDNY workers who have protested New York City’s vaccination mandate.
Jay Jacobs, chairman of the Nassau and state Democratic committees, suggested Tuesday evening that issues like taxes and crime are helping motivate voters this year.
“These are always big problems here in the suburbs,” he said.
Jacobs also highlighted the 2009 election, when Mangano ousted Democratic County Executive Thomas Suozzi, of Glen Cove, who now represents the 3rd Congressional District.
Citing the vibe of the first year of Democratic President Barack Obama’s first term, Jacobs called current electoral trends “reminiscent of what happened in 2009”.
In other county-wide races, Nassau County Clerk Maureen O’Connell, a Republican, defeated Democratic challenger Justin Brown.
In the race for Nassau County comptroller, a vacant seat Elaine Phillips, former Republican state senator and mayor of Flower Hill, defeated Democratic lawyer Ryan Cronin, former Nassau board member Health Care Corp.
Democrat Jack Schnirman did not run for a second term.
With John Asbury and Matthew Chayes