Edward Mangano gets what he wanted -- a mandate

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Left to right, Joseph Mondello, County Executive Edward Left to right, Joseph Mondello, County Executive Edward Mangano, and former Sen. Al D'Amato celebrate with supporters at Mangano's election night headquarters in Westbury. (Nov. 5, 2013) Photo Credit: Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara

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Joye Brown Newsday columnist Joye Brown

Joye Brown has been a columnist for Newsday since 2006. She joined the newspaper in 1983 and has

Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano got what he wanted with his huge victory Tuesday night.

A mandate.

According to unofficial results, Mangano swatted away any ambiguity arising from 2009's squeaky-close race where he beat former County Executive Thomas Suozzi by just 386 votes.

Nassau voters Tuesday rewarded Mangano for what he did not do: raise property taxes. It was Mangano's first-term mantra. And it worked.

Mangano's win showed that his 2009 victory over Suozzi was no fluke.

The former county executive lost in 2009 because Democrats did not come out to vote. He lost Tuesday night because Democrats in key areas did not support him. And because an effort to turn Democrats who voted for the president into off-year voters failed.

Mangano also won the lion's share of independent, and other third-party voters.

When it came to turnout, the candidates pretty much had nowhere to go but up.

In 2009, the first match between then-legislator Mangano and then-incumbent Suozzi racked up comparatively light numbers.

Back then, only 27 percent of Nassau voters went to the polls -- compared with 34 percent in the 2005 county executive's race.

In 2001 -- when Suozzi was first elected county executive -- what now seems like a whopping 38 percent of voters went to the polls.

Tuesday night's win shows that low voter turnout -- not a national wave of anger at incumbents -- cost Suozzi his seat in 2009.

In Nassau, Republican turnout tends to be remarkably consistent. That was true even in 1999, when Democrats took the legislature for the first time in 70 years, and in 2001, when Suozzi became the first Democratic county executive since the 1960s.

Republicans turned out even then -- although angry and embarrassed at the GOP's mismanagement of county finances, they voted for Democrats.

But while Republican voters are reliable, Democrats tend to be fickle. The county's overall turnout numbers, traditionally, rise or fall on whether Democrats go to the polls or stay home.

In Nassau, Democrats have a very slight enrollment edge over Republicans. But the county's now-plentiful independent and third-party voters put the once solidly Republican county in play.

Early on Tuesday night, Republicans and Democrats said that voter turnout appeared to be higher than it was four years ago.

That was good news for Mangano, who this time around attracted Republican voters who in 2009 might have assumed he was going to lose.

Back then, as Long Island and the nation slogged through the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, Mangano made a promise to cut and hold down taxes.

It fell on receptive ears then. And now.

In their last contest, places like Farmingdale and Hicksville, Woodbury and East Hills, Floral Park, Baldwin and Manhasset that had once supported Suozzi went for Mangano.

It happened again Tuesday night, according to unofficial reports, as Suozzi had trouble in solidly Democratic areas such as Long Beach and his hometown, Glen Cove.

That helped fuel Mangano's predicted double-digit win -- giving the county executive all the mandate he needs.

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