Pols ponder future as new district lines are drawn
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Two veteran Nassau Democratic lawmakers say they may not run for re-election and instead are eyeing runs for higher office after a new GOP redistricting map left them without their own legislative districts.
The lawmakers made their comments after the release Wednesday of proposed county legislative districts that would place six incumbents into three districts. The Republican-drawn plan is expected to be approved Feb. 25 by the GOP-controlled county legislature.
Legis. Wayne Wink (D-Roslyn), whose district would merge into that of Legis. Delia DeRiggi-Whitton (D-Glen Cove), said Thursday that he is considering a run against Republican county Comptroller George Maragos in November.
Wink, who has served three terms in the legislature, said he will not run a primary against DeRiggi-Whitton. DeRiggi-Whitton, a first-term legislator, said in a statement that "it is too early to consider the implications of this latest proposal" because the map is likely to be challenged by Democrats in court.
The map also would move a sliver of Merrick, including Democratic Legis. David Denenberg's home, into Democratic Legis. Joe Scannell's 5th District in Baldwin. Denenberg, who said he is not planning to challenge Scannell for the seat, said he is mulling potential challenges, either to Maragos or Republican County Executive Edward Mangano.
Through a spokesman, seven-term lawmaker Scannell called it "premature to make any decisions until we have a final map."
Republican Joe Belesi of Farmingdale would lose his 14th District as it merges with GOP Legis. Michael Venditto's 12th District in Massapequa. Belesi said Thursday that he is considering retirement, but will wait to see if Democrats are able to challenge the redrawn map successfully.
"I am going to do what's best for the people of my district," said Belesi, who has served two terms. The former Nassau police supervisor said he would not rule out a primary against Venditto. "Anything is possible," Belesi said.
First-term lawmaker Venditto called it "too early to be thinking about candidacies. This is the time to be thinking about getting residents' input" about the map.
Denenberg, a seven-term lawmaker, accused the GOP of redrawing his district so that a Republican can take it over.
"It's obvious they are trying to move me out of my district with the hopes that a Republican can then win," he said.
Frank Moroney, spokesman for Nassau legislative Republicans, said the GOP drew the map, "blind to incumbency."
The legislature's Rules Committee will vote on the map on Monday, while the full legislature will vote Feb. 25. Republicans hold a 10-9 majority in the legislature.