Venditto leading in race to fill Peter Schmitt seat

Michael Venditto, 31, won the race for the

Michael Venditto, 31, won the race for the 12th Legislative District seat. (Oct. 11, 2012) (Credit: Handout)

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Special elections Tuesday chose veteran politicians as supervisors of the towns of Brookhaven and Babylon and named a replacement for the Nassau legislative seat left vacant last month when Presiding Officer Peter Schmitt (R-Massapequa) died.

Michael Venditto, 31, of Massapequa, beat Joanne Maglione, 42, of Massapequa Park, in the bid for Schmitt's seat.

Venditto was the county GOP's candidate, and Democrats nominated Maglione, also a Republican, to run in Nassau's most heavily Republican legislative district, where they outnumber Democrats more than 2-to-1. Venditto's win gives Republicans a 10-9 majority.

Venditto, son of Republican Oyster Bay Supervisor John Venditto, has served as counsel to the Republican majority on the Hempstead Town Board. Maglione is a litigator and worked as a deputy county attorney when Democrat Thomas Suozzi was county executive.

Both candidates expressed a desire to reduce the tax burden without cutting services.

In Brookhaven, Suffolk Legis. Edward Romaine returned the town supervisor spot to Republican control when he beat Democrat Brian Beedenbender, capping an abbreviated campaign begun when former Supervisor Mark Lesko tendered a surprise resignation in August.

In Babylon, Supervisor Richard Schaffer, a Democrat, defeated Republican challenger Mark Gallo. "With all of the very serious work we have to do in the storm's aftermath, I'm honored the residents have put their trust in me to help get our town through this terrible tragedy," Schaffer said last night.

Thunderous applause greeted Romaine at The Emporium in Patchogue when he was introduced as supervisor. Romaine said one of his first goals will be to restore power to the town, which was hit hard by superstorm Sandy -- "even if we have to blow up LIPA to do it."

Hanging over the Brookhaven race was the specter of the town budget, which Lesko submitted before resigning. It calls for nearly 150 layoffs, closing facilities, and eliminating some services. It will be the subject of a public hearing Thursday.

Beedenbender, 32, of Centereach, was Lesko's chief of staff. A former Suffolk County legislator, he was elected in 2007 and chaired the Public Works and Transportation Committee. Romaine, 65, of Center Moriches, a two-time county legislator. was elected first in 1985, elected county clerk in 1989, and returned to the legislature in 2005. Schaffer, 48, of North Babylon, was elected to the legislature in 1987, and in 1992 won a special election to become Babylon supervisor. He did not seek re-election in 2001. He was appointed supervisor in January, replacing Steve Bellone.

With Patrick Whittle, Sid Cassese and Robert Brodsky

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