Nassau Republicans nominated Michael Venditto, an attorney and the son of Oyster Bay Town Supervisor John Venditto, to fill the seat of county Legis. Peter Schmitt, who died last week from a heart attack.
Republican executive leaders from the 12th Legislative District voted unanimously Thursday for Venditto, 31, said Nassau GOP spokesman Anthony Santino.
Venditto, of Massapequa, will compete in a Nov. 6 special election against Joanne Maglione, 42, a lawyer at Jaspan Schlesinger in Garden City. Maglione, a former Nassau deputy county attorney from Massapequa Park, is a registered Republican who is running on the Democratic line.
Venditto, counsel to the Hempstead Town Board, is a 2006 graduate of St. John's University School of Law. He has worked for the town since 2006, first as a deputy town attorney and since 2010 as counsel to the board. He earns $94,300 annually, a town spokeswoman said. If elected, Venditto, who is married and does not have children, would be the youngest member of the county legislature.
In an interview, Venditto said he was running to reduce taxes and create more opportunity for young people.
"I am going to fight to ensure that Nassau's taxes stay low and its quality of life stays high," Venditto said. "I want to keep Nassau a place where young people like myself can afford to live, work and stay."
Nassau GOP Chairman Joseph Mondello said Venditto was chosen for his credentials, and that his nomination had nothing to do with his father.
"Michael is the future of our party," Mondello said. "He has a knowledge of the district that is second to none."
Nassau Democratic Party chairman Jay Jacobs questioned Venditto's qualifications.
"The voters of the 12th Legislative District will have to choose between Joanne Maglione, an independent Republican, willing to work with both parties to finally fix the assessment mess, or a candidate from the Nassau Republican machine that will simply toe the party line," he said.
The district, which includes Massapequa, Massapequa Park and portions of Seaford and North Massapequa, has a higher percentage of Republican voter enrollment than any district in the county, according to the county's Board of Elections.
Jacobs acknowledged the race will be an uphill climb for Democrats and that the party is not prepared to match GOP spending to win the seat.