The primaries are over and campaigning for the main event -- November's general election -- already is underway. Topping the card is the rematch for Nassau County executive between Republican incumbent Edward Mangano and Democrat Thomas Suozzi. Their roles are reversed from four years ago, but the central issue remains the same -- what to do about the county's tenuous finances.
If you're looking for a moral from Tuesday's results, "Be careful whom you cross" is a good one, at least in Suffolk, where newcomer Monica Martinez defeated 10-year incumbent Legis. Ricardo Montano by nearly 2 to 1. Democrats in the Suffolk legislature always have been a more fractious group than their Nassau brethren. No one personified that more in recent years than Montano, who opposed County Executive and fellow Democrat Steve Bellone on various issues while representing the heavily minority 9th district. Montano had faced no opponent since winning his first election in 2003. But Bellone and county chaiman Richard Schaffer pumped money into the campaign of Martinez, the sister of the co-chair of Bellone's transition team, ridding themselves of one thorn and sending a message to others contemplating playing with their own ball.
Attempts to take out other long-term incumbents were not as successful. Smithtown Supervisor Patrick Vecchio, in office since 1978, survived a challenge from Councilman Robert Creighton in a Republican primary; they'll face off again in November, with Creighton on the Conservative line. Huntington's 26-year highway superintendent, William Naughton, survived a three-way Democratic battle. Last year, the town board considered making his post an appointed position. It should be.
And now we're on the road to November, where the slings and arrows of outrageous contention will be sure to cross our mailboxes, in-boxes and airwaves for weeks to come.