An overview of Nassau Legislature races

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Democrats will seek to hold on to their one-vote majority in the Nassau County Legislature in an election Nov. 3 that will guarantee some new faces, if not ideas, in the frequently bickering body.

A sampling of campaign literature and comments from candidates indicates most Republicans will be running campaigns that focus on taxes, particularly high property taxes and the recent imposition of a 2.5 percent county sales tax on oil, electricity and other sources of home heating.

Democrats, by and large, are attempting to deflect the tax issue by pointing out the bulk of property taxes is imposed by school districts, which are separate from the county.

Legis. Denise Ford of Long Beach, a registered Democrat who also runs on the Republican line and sits with the GOP minority, is the only incumbent in the 19-member legislature who does not have an election challenge this year.

Republican Legis. Edward Mangano of Bethpage is running for county executive, so a new legislator is guaranteed in that district and Republicans are likely to hold that seat.

Democrat Roger Corbin of Westbury, who is under indictment on federal tax evasion charges, lost his primary and leaves office at the end of the year. The seat is likely to stay in Democratic control.

Democrat Robert Troiano, a member of the Town Board of North Hempstead who defeated Corbin in the Democratic primary, is the heavy favorite over Republican Derek Partee, a retired police officer, in Corbin's district, where Democrats outnumber Republicans nearly three to one.

In the heavily Republican area of Bethpage, Republican Rose Marie Walker, a member of the Town Board of Oyster Bay, is the statistical favorite over Democrat Arshad Majid, an attorney in private practice.

The three incumbents who face the stiffest challenges this year are Republican John Ciotti of North Valley Stream, Democrats David Mejias of Farmingdale and Joseph Scannell of Baldwin.

Mejias is facing another challenge from retired county police officer Joseph Belesi, who came within 200 votes - out of 12,000 cast - two years ago in what turned out to be the closest race in the county.

Ciotti, who has appeared vulnerable for years in an increasingly Democratic district, is up against Nina Petraro Bastardi, a former leader of Nassau Young Republicans who defected to the Democratic Party to challenge Ciotti.

Nassau County Executive Thomas Suozzi has expended special effort in the Bastardi race, attending her campaign kickoff and hosting a fundraiser for her.

Scannell is being challenged again by Republican Christian Browne, who lost by 1,000 votes out of 9,000 votes cast in the 2007 race.

Aside from Ford, the safest incumbents appear to be the leaders: Diane Yatauro, the Democratic presiding officer from Glen Cove, and Peter Schmitt, the GOP minority leader from Massapequa.

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