Top Assembly race is in new Nassau district

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A scramble for a newly created district in Nassau County is headlining the races for state Assembly seats on Long Island.

Democrats, backing Michaelle Solages, have a slight money and enrollment advantage for the Elmont-North Valley Stream-based seat. But some believe Republicans are itching to revenge a county legislative loss there in 2011 and are looking to pull a surprise with newcomer Sean Wright.

Other races to watch include contests to replace two departing Suffolk County assemblymen.

In the new 22nd Assembly District, Solages, an Elmont resident, has raised about $46,000 since declaring her candidacy and spent about $32,000 -- most of it to win a three-way primary in September. She has $13,481 as of her Oct. 5 campaign-finance statement with the state Board of Elections.

Solages, a Hofstra University librarian, has endorsements from the Working Families Party and a number of unions. Her biggest contributions came from 1199/SEIU (a health care workers' union), which donated $4,100 and New York State United Teachers, which gave 3,000.

Wright, of North Valley Stream, has raised just $8,400 and spent $6,300, leaving him $2,100 as of the Oct. 5 filing deadline. Wright, a deputy town attorney in Hempstead, also has backing from the Conservative and Independence parties. His biggest contribution, $1,000, came from the North Valley Stream Republican Club, headed by Joseph Cairo, who is also president of the Nassau Off-Track Betting Corp.

Neither the Democratic nor Republican assembly campaign committees have spent money to date to win the race.

The district borders Queens and covers Bellerose, Elmont, Valley Stream and North Woodmere, among other areas. It has about 37,000 Democrats, 25,000 Republicans and 16,000 voters not enrolled in a party.

"We have a great candidate and we expect to win that seat," said Jay Jacobs, chairman of the Nassau Democratic Committee. "But we're not taking Joe Cairo, the Republican leader, lightly. My guess is he's looking for some redemption after losing a county legislative seat there last year."

Jacobs referred to the 2011 contest in which Republican John Ciotti, a 16-year veteran of the county legislature, lost to Carrié Solages -- Michaelle Solages' brother.

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"Like any campaign, we're going to work hard -- but I know the enrollment numbers are against us," Cairo said. "We just hope people are looking at the candidate and not just the party label."

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