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Long IslandColumnistsJoye Brown

Could Edward Mangano still throw his hat into the ring?

Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano at a meeting

Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano at a meeting in Bethpage on May 11, 2017. Credit: Howard Schnapp

There’s still a possibility that Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano could toss his hat into the ring for a third term. Yup. You read that right.

“I certainly believe, in my heart, that of all the candidates running, I am best suited to run the county,” Mangano said in a phone interview Wednesday. “There are a lot of people that like the job I’ve done, and I don’t want to be self-serving here, but I have worked my ass off through very difficult obstacles and partisan politics.”

Should Mangano decide to seek another term, how would he do it? Would he run a primary against state Sen. Jack Martins, the candidate Mangano’s own Nassau Republican party picked over him? Would he ditch the GOP and run as a minor party candidate? Or could there be some combination of the two?

Mangano deferred comment on any potential scenario, presumably until he makes a decision on whether to run. And when will that be? “I don’t know, maybe two to ten days,” Mangano said.

Mangano, his wife, Linda, and former Oyster Bay Supervisor John Venditto were indicted in October 2016 on federal charges of extortion, bribery, fraud and obstruction. All have pleaded not guilty.

“I firmly believe I will be exonerated,” said Mangano, who refused to step down after the indictment, despite calls to do so from some county public officials, Republican and Democrat alike.

The case is slated for its next court conference on Nov. 13, after Election Day, and for trial in January.

Mangano, who until Wednesday had remained silent on his political plans, sounded like a candidate as he ticked off a list of what he viewed as his administration’s greatest accomplishments, from establishing housing for veterans to enhancing public safety.

“I think that we have been standout leaders . . . and we have made our county a better place,” he said.

Mangano said he’s also still working on numerous other initiatives, including trying to bring the New York Islanders back to Nassau. “I have so many projects started and you want to see them finished,” he said. “That’s what gnaws at you.”

Eight years ago, when he first campaigned for office, Mangano was considered to be an underdog — no, make that a sacrificial lamb — against former County Executive Thomas Suozzi, a Democrat. But to Suozzi’s chagrin — and to the surprise of Nassau Republican party leaders — Mangano pulled it off, defeating Suozzi by a narrow margin.

Four years later, Mangano would beat Suozzi again, this time by a decisive margin.

Earlier this year, Joseph Mondello, head of Nassau’s GOP, met with Mangano to tell him that he would not be his party’s candidate for county executive.

“It’s always a tough thing to hear, but I understood the direction he was taking the party in,” Mangano said. “As you know, in Nassau County, the chairman has all the power — and that was it, really, it wasn’t a lengthy conversation.”

Since that meeting, Mangano remained mum on whether he would run again. “I know that I have taken a lot of time to do so,” he said. “I feel under the circumstances that I need to take every minute.”

So, for now, the clock on Mangano’s decision is still ticking.

In the meantime, Mangano said, “I’m feeling good.”

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