Kaiman eyes Nassau executive run; Jay Jacobs urges Suozzi candidacy
North Hempstead Supervisor Jon Kaiman is establishing a campaign committee to explore a run for Nassau County executive this fall as the county Democratic chairman continues to lobby former County Executive Thomas Suozzi to enter the race.
Kaiman, 50, a Great Neck Democrat, said he mailed papers Monday to the county election board to establish a "Kaiman 2013" committee to begin raising money for a potential challenge to Republican County Executive Edward Mangano.
"I filed papers for an exploratory committee. We checked the box for county executive. That's really what it is, no more no less at this point," said Kaiman, who took office in 2004 and is completing his fifth term as supervisor.
Kaiman's move comes amid speculation among Democrats that Suozzi, a Democrat who lost narrowly to Mangano in 2009, was considering running again for the county job.
Suozzi, of Glen Cove, denied that he planned a news conference Tuesday to announce he would be running but did not respond to other questions about his intentions.
Although Suozzi has said he did not plan another run for county executive, Nassau Democratic chairman Jay Jacobs has been urging Suozzi to join the race. Jacobs said he expected to talk with Suozzi again Tuesday.
Asked about a possible Suozzi announcement Tuesday, Jacobs said, "Sometimes you don't know what's happening tomorrow until tomorrow. I can't comment on that in any fashion. Tom has been having conversations with me. He's on the cusp of making a decision. I think it will be one way or another in a fairly short period of time."
Kaiman, a former District Court judge, said, "Tom has not announced. I've not announced. It appears we're both exploring our options."
Kaiman said the "goal is to see who's best suited to make this race. There will be a party convention down the road. That will be the primary force in determining the candidate."
The only announced Democratic candidate for county executive is political newcomer Adam Haber, 47, a businessman who sits on the Roslyn school board.
"We welcome anyone into the race who wants to discuss how to improve our county, but Nassau's middle-class families have suffered through over a decade of career politicians who mismanage services, overtax our families and don't deliver for our communities," said Haber's campaign manager, Justin Myers. "Adam Haber is running to change that. He's running to save taxpayers money and provide services more efficiently, not because he's looking for his next job."
Kaiman had been expected to be appointed by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to head the Long Island Power Authority before superstorm Sandy hit Long Island, exposing flaws in LIPA's performance and prompting the governor to explore privatizing the authority instead.
Asked if the governor had asked him to run, Kaiman said, "The governor and I have a good relationship and that's about it . . . We've had discussions about my future options. I wouldn't go any further than that."
Kaiman had a meeting at his home recently to consider the county executive's race. Robert Zimmerman, a Democratic national committeeman from Great Neck who attended, said Monday, "Jon Kaiman has been a role model as a public official and an extraordinary town supervisor. He would be a great candidate for county executive."
After his loss to Mangano, Suozzi had more than $1.5 million in his campaign fund, and has about $1 million left. Suozzi, 50, has said he is enjoying his family and his work as an attorney and with Wall Street's Lazard Ltd.
"Residents know Ed Mangano is the guy in their corner stopping tax hikes and cutting wasteful spending -- that's something the opposition cannot overcome," Mangano spokesman Brian Nevin said Monday night.
With Robert Brodsky