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Long IslandNassau

All Nassau legislative seats up for election next week

Members of the Nassau County Legislature's Budget Review

Members of the Nassau County Legislature's Budget Review Committee listen on Thursday, Sept. 3, 2015 in Mineola. Credit: Howard Schnapp

All 19 Nassau County legislative seats are up for election this year, with Republicans needing to pick up a seat so they can approve county borrowing without Democratic votes, and Democrats plying an anti-corruption agenda.

Both parties agree that control of the chamber is unlikely to change, given the Republicans' 12-seat majority.

But if Republicans win one more seat, Democrats will lose the ability to obtain concessions in exchange for providing the critical 13th vote needed to borrow money. The county charter requires a two-thirds majority for bonding.

Democrats say they hope to hang on to their seven seats, knock off at least three incumbent Republicans and win an open seat in Lynbrook held by retiring GOP Legis. Fran Becker.

Nassau GOP chairman Joseph Mondello said he did not expect Republicans to win a supermajority. "It's not a priority for me," he said of the supermajority. "I am not sure it's even a good thing for people. It's better if the other side is heard."

Mondello had said previously that he was targeting Legis. Delia DeRiggi-Whitton (D-Glen Cove), who faces former Nassau County Assistant District Attorney Matthew Connolly, a Republican. Mondello said he expects that seat to remain in Democratic hands.

Democrats, who have lost two legislative seats since 2013, have little clout, as the GOP majority routinely rejects their bills and requests for hearings.

But Nassau Democratic Party chairman Jay Jacobs said the party has "a shot" in the 7th District, where Tova Plaut is challenging Legis. Howard Kopel (R-Lawrence); the 13th, where Eileen Napolitano is trying to oust Presiding Officer Norma Gonsalves (R-East Meadow), and the 18th, where well-funded Democrat Dean Hart, a Glen Head optician, is challenging freshman Legis. Donald MacKenzie (R-Oyster Bay).

Democrats also are targeting Becker's vacant 6th District, where Democrat Jim Paymar faces Republican C. William Gaylor III.

Jacobs said the party is plying the issue of political corruption in many of the races.

He noted the federal corruption indictments against former State Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre), accused of improperly trying to influence the awarding of a Nassau County contract, and restaurateur Harendra Singh on charges including bribing an Oyster Bay Town official. Skelos and Singh have pleaded not guilty.

"The culture of government in Nassau County today challenges Louisiana in the '20s and '30s," said Jacobs.

Mondello responded by noting that three Democratic legislators have been convicted recently of felonies -- Roger Corbin of Westbury, Patrick Williams of Uniondale and Dave Denenberg of Merrick -- while no Republican county lawmaker has faced similar charges.

"I think the Democrats should learn how to count," Mondello said.

Corbin was convicted in 2012 of accepting $200,000 in bribes for steering a project to a developer, while Williams was found guilty of conspiracy in the same scheme. Denenberg was convicted earlier this year of bilking a law firm client out of $2.3 million.


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