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Glen Cove’s ex-Democratic leader runs for Council on GOP line

Michael Zangari, who led the Glen Cove Democratic

Michael Zangari, who led the Glen Cove Democratic Committee for 15 months until late last month, is now running for City Council on the Republican line. Above, Zangari is seen on May 26, 2015. Photo Credit: James Escher

Michael Zangari, who less than a month ago led the Glen Cove Democratic Committee, has won Republican Party support for City Council.

While the GOP picked Zangari, the party last week snubbed incumbent Councilman Efraim Spagnoletti, who now is considering a run for mayor against GOP-endorsed incumbent Reginald Spinello.

The Democratic Party also nominated its slate, which includes Roderick Watson, who was elected as a Republican in 2015 but switched his registration to the Democratic Party last year.

Zangari was elected head of the city Democratic Party in January 2016 and stepped down on April 26. He unsuccessfully ran for City Council as a Democrat in 2015. Zangari did not return phone calls to discuss his decision to resign and run on the Republican line, but said in an email that he remains a registered Democrat.

The newly elected Democratic leader in Glen Cove, longtime Democratic committeewoman Cindy Silletti, and the party’s mayoral nominee, Councilman Timothy Tenke, said Zangari never told them that he would run as a Republican.

“I’m very surprised by the fact he is deciding to run with the Republicans,” Tenke said. “It would seem strange to have a Democratic leader in Glen Cove resign from that and jump over to run with the Republicans.”

Spinello is an Independence Party member but has received official Republican Party backing since he first ran for mayor in 2013. Spagnoletti generally votes with Spinello but has broken with him on a few issues, including voting against using future tax revenue to help build public amenities at the Garvies Point waterfront project.

In 2015, the GOP declined to endorse Spagnoletti, but he won the party nomination in the primary anyway, winning re-election in November on the lines of the GOP and of Glen Cove United, a local party often critical of Spinello.

Glen Cove Republican Committee chairman David Zatlin said that’s a key reason why Spagnoletti wasn’t selected.

“Obviously Mr. Spagnoletti ran in a primary against the present incumbents and he was part of the independent slate that tried to challenge Mayor Spinello,” Zatlin said.

Spagnoletti said a number of residents have encouraged him to run for mayor.

“I’m a two-term councilman and I was the highest vote-getter in the last election cycle,” Spagnoletti said, referring to his first-place finish among the six winning council candidates.

In addition to the mayor’s post, there are six seats open on the City Council.

In addition to Zangari, 57, and Spinello, 64, the Republican candidates are incumbents Joseph Capobianco, 57; Nicholas DiLeo Jr., 29; Pamela Panzenbeck, 63; Matthew Connolly, 36, an attorney who in 2015 unsuccessfully ran for county legislature; and Kevin Maccarone, 27, an attorney and son of former councilman and planning commission member John Maccarone.

The Democratic candidates in addition to Watson, 41, and Tenke, 55, are Andrew Bennett, 42, an assistant principal; Marcela DeLafuente, 58, a homemaker; Anne Phillips, 46, a tax administrator; Gaitley Stevenson-Mathews, 56, a freelance producer and speech coach; and Roger Williams, 48, a Baptist pastor.

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