The Town of Hempstead has to elect a new supervisor for the first time in 12 years, since Kate Murray is leaving to run for Nassau district attorney.

Hempstead Senior Councilman Anthony Santino, who has coveted the GOP nomination for 20 years, was nominated Wednesday night during the Nassau County Republican Convention.

Democrats are expected to officially nominate a candidate during their convention this month. Possible candidates include past Nassau County clerk candidate and Uniondale lawyer Laura Gillen and Malverne Mayor Patricia McDonald, wife of injured NYPD Officer Steven McDonald. She was considered last year as a nominee for Congress.

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Gillen and McDonald did not return calls about whether they would consider a campaign. Nassau County Democratic chairman Jay Jacobs was unavailable for comment.

Lauren Corcoran-Doolin, the Nassau County Democratic chair for Hempstead, said the town needs a new leader separate from Murray's administration.

The Town of Hempstead has traditionally been a Republican stronghold. Murray, a Republican, has served as supervisor since 2003. Santino was first elected to the town board in 1993 and has served six terms as a councilman. He is also the leader of the East Rockaway Republican Club.

Santino said he has the experience and knowledge of how the town works. He said he worked for the town for six years before he was elected and knows the day-to-day management of departments that serve the nation's largest township of 800,000 people.

"I think I have the background and experience necessary, and I know how the town works and what makes it click," Santino said.

Santino said he planned to follow the fiscal policies set by Murray in order to keep expenses and taxes lower for residents.

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"Kate has been a great asset during the last 12 years and navigated difficult economic times to keep the town on firm fiscal footing without socking it to the taxpayer," Santino said. "I'm the best bet to continue those policies, and I'll put my own stamp on things with my campaign to go forward and a vision of the future."