Republican gubernatorial candidate Rick Lazio of Brightwaters received a key endorsement Wednesday from GOP Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano, seen by some in his party as a giant-slayer for his upset win over Democrat Thomas Suozzi in November.
"For far too long, Albany has increased taxes and spending to levels that are simply unsustainable," Mangano said in a statement released by Lazio. "Rick will be a stronger partner for reducing taxes and fostering a business climate that puts people back to work in Nassau County."
Lawrence Elovich, a former Democratic leader in Long Beach, said he was not surprised by the endorsement. "It would have been strange if Mr. Mangano had gone against the county leadership even if the state GOP leader backs another Long Islander" - a reference to Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy, who recently switched parties.
"Wonderful news," Mondello said of Mangano's decision. "Rick is a great candidate, who is deserving of carrying the banner of our party for the top spot of governor. I'm pleased that Eddie has seen the same attributes in Rick Lazio that I have."
The Nassau County Republican and Conservative party leaders back Lazio. The executive committee of the state Conservative Party also backs Lazio, but state committee members have not. Other than its leader, the state GOP has not made a move.
Levy, at a news conference in Hauppauge, said of Mangano's endorsement: "That was to be expected with Joe Mondello . . . supporting Mr. Lazio. But I don't really know how much any these non-county chair endorsements matter. When it comes to a primary, the people of New York are going to be looking for . . . [someone to] save the state from bankruptcy."
With Dan Janison