Spin Cycle

News, views and commentary on Long Island, state and national politics.

Nassau County District Attorney candidate Michael Scotto has challenged his Democratic primary opponent, Acting District Attorney Madeline Singas, to at least two debates this summer.

Scotto, a former Manhattan prosecutor, said at least one debate should be moderated by the League of Women Voters with three reporters chosen to question the candidates.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

He said the focus of the debates should address "the real problems" of the county and provide solutions from each of the candidates "so the voters can make an informed decision."

"Right now a person dies every 72 hours from a drug overdose in Nassau County," Scotto said in a statement.  "We have a murder rate in Hempstead that is worse than Bedford-Stuyvesant in NYC, and we have an ever growing political corruption issue in our county and no one, but me, is talking about it.  These are the issues that need to be address and the candidates all need to show how they will deal with these problems."

Singas campaign spokesman Isaac Goldberg declined to comment on the debate request.

The winner of the September Democratic primary will take on the Republican candidate, Hempstead Town Supervisor Kate Murray, in November

Scotto, who spent 22 years with the Manhattan district attorney's office, most recently as chief of the labor racketeering unit and rackets bureau, has collected about 3,000 petition signatures, said campaign spokesman Warren Cohn.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

Singas and Scotto must each collect 2,000 valid signatures by the July 9 Board of Elections deadline. Candidates typically collect three to four times the required number of signatures as many names are often invalidated by court challenges.