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Long Beach Democrats divided over city council candidates

Nassau County Democratic Chairman Jay Jacobs in an

Nassau County Democratic Chairman Jay Jacobs in an undated photo. Credit: Chuck Fadely

Long Beach Democrats remain divided over the November City Council election after one faction nominated a slate of candidates without any incumbents.

Nassau County Democratic chairman Jay Jacobs did not submit any candidates during last week’s Democratic nominating convention, because he said the party was too divided to commit to a ticket.

That left a new faction of Long Beach Democratic committee members to nominate a field of newcomers to run for three City Council seats: retired FDNY firefighter Joseph Miccio, Beach to Bay Civic Association president Barbara Barnardini and Long Beach teacher’s aide Runner Myles.

The city’s Democratic Party is split between the new group and the original Independent Democratic Party, which has aligned with Jacobs and Nassau County Democrats.

Jacobs said he is not supporting any of the new candidates and is instead using the Nassau County Democratic Committee’s campaign resources for a ticket led by Long Beach City Council members Scott Mandel and Chumi Diamond. He has not committed to a third candidate to replace City Council President Len Torres, who is not seeking re-election.

Democrats are facing a Republican slate, including metal union worker Christopher Jones, Verizon operations manager William Haas and Realtor Leah Tozer, who is a registered Democrat.

“I am working on bringing the two factions together and a slate both sides can agree on,” Jacobs said. “We are trying to put together a county committee slate that brings in members of both sides so we can begin to unify the Democratic slate in Long Beach.”

Leaders of the new faction couldn’t be reached for comment.

The party divisions follow years of infighting among Long Beach Democrats and the county’s party leadership, which provides resources and funding for campaign.

Democrats have controlled all five seats on the City Council since 2012. Mandel was elected in 2011 and was re-elected to a four-year term in 2013. Diamond was appointed to the seat of former councilwoman Eileen Goggin in February. Both Mandel and Diamond are law clerks for Nassau County Supreme Court judges.

Jacobs said he hoped to field a unified ticket in the next few days, but would face a Democratic primary in September if other candidates petition for the ballot.

“I’m tired of the pettiness, small mindedness and selfishness of both sides who are trying to drive the agenda,” Jacobs said. “This has to be about what’s good for Long Beach.”

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