Two Republicans are running in Tuesday's special election for the county legislative seat left vacant when Presiding Officer Peter Schmitt (R-Massapequa) died unexpectedly Oct. 3.
Only one, however, is the county Republican party's candidate: Michael Venditto, 31, of Massapequa. Joanne Maglione, 42, though a registered Republican from Massapequa Park, was nominated by the Democrats to run in Nassau's most heavily Republican legislative district.
Nassau Democratic chairman Jay Jacobs said the party nominated Maglione because the district is heavily Republican, "and we felt having an independent Republican who might get elected was better than nominating a Democrat who wouldn't."
Maglione said she was prompted to enter the race after her school tax bill increased by several hundred dollars -- much more than she had expected -- because of county assessment reductions to other properties. She said she would bring "an independent voice" to the gridlocked legislature, now split 9-9 between Republicans and Democrats.
Venditto said he is a "proud Republican" and praised his father's service to the community. He added, "While I have learned a lot from my father, I'm not running on his record, I'm running on my vision . . . to ensure that Nassau remains an affordable place for families, seniors and singles to work and stay."
Venditto pointed to Maglione's Democratic connections, saying her law firm is headed by "Democratic machine" lawyer Steven Schlesinger, who does most of the Democrats' election law work.
Both candidates want to find ways to reduce the tax burden without cutting services.
"We're a PTA family," Maglione said. "My husband stays home with the kids and I work full time. I have to balance a budget in my house."
Venditto, whose wife, Antonella, is a teacher, said his "biggest issue is affordability, making sure young people can stay here and invest in their homes and their futures."