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Long IslandNassau

Haber kicks off primary countdown with picnic

Nassau County Executive candidate Adam Haber talks with

Nassau County Executive candidate Adam Haber talks with supporters at a picnic to rev up his campaign in East Meadow. (Aug. 10, 2013) Photo Credit: Ed Betz

With the Nassau primary election a month away, Adam Haber, a Democrat running for county executive, rallied campaign supporters at a "30-days-left" picnic at Eisenhower Park Saturday.

Haber, an East Hills businessman and Roslyn school board member, is running against former Nassau County Executive Thomas Suozzi in the Sept. 10 primary. Both men are looking to unseat Republican County Executive Edward Mangano.

"We're one of the richest counties in the world, and we're failing," Haber told about 40 supporters. "How do we change that around? Well, first we don't elect the same people who have been in office for the past 20 years."

Haber, who has largely self-financed his campaign -- loaning himself about $3 million since December, according to campaign records -- has remained in the race despite calls from county Democratic leaders to bow out in favor of Suozzi.

Haber, 48, said Suozzi "had eight years in office and nothing changed."

Suozzi campaign spokesman Danny Kazin declined to comment.

Jeanwood Sessions, a longtime Hempstead resident, said she decided to support Haber after hearing him speak before a coalition of local civic associations. Sessions said she voted for Suozzi in previous elections but feels he hasn't kept ties with the Hempstead community since losing to Mangano in 2009.

"When he ran for governor and lost, and when he lost the county executive race, he wasn't there, especially in our communities; at least that's my opinion," Sessions said. "It's time for someone with new ideas."

Carolyn Do of North Merrick said she was initially undecided about whom to vote for in the primary, but decided to attend the picnic and learn about Haber after receiving a call from his campaign.

"I think he's convincing," said Do, a retired public schools teacher. "I think it's time for change. It might be an uphill battle because the other politicians are so entrenched, but I wish him luck."

Haber, who has also run TV and radio ads against Suozzi, urged new supporters to spread the word about his campaign to neighbors and friends.

"This is how campaigns are won, with support," Haber said. "I cannot do this alone."

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