Both candidates in the tight race for Nassau County district attorney had strong words for their opponent Saturday.
Acting District Attorney Madeline Singas, the Democratic candidate, joined several party members running in local races at the ninth Politics and Pancakes breakfast at The Harvest Diner in Westbury about 9:30 a.m. Singas, in front of a diverse crowd of about 200, started her eight-minute speech with a subtle attack on her Republican rival, Hempstead Town Supervisor Kate Murray.
"Experience matters when it comes to being the district attorney, and you can't count on a popular name," Singas said, without naming Murray. "You have to have done the work before the people will vote for you. You need to be a prosecutor and not a politician."
Shortly after noon, Murray joined about a dozen volunteer workers -- donning pink baseball caps that read "Kate Murray / Tough on Crime" -- at the Republican headquarters in Franklin Square. With less than 72 hours until polls open, Murray sat with the volunteers to prepare campaign literature packets to be delivered door to door and compile phone bank lists for Tuesday.
Murray defended her resume -- boasting that she's "run America's largest township for the last 13 years" -- and said it's leadership, not experience, that would run a successful district attorney's office.
"It's about being very, very tough on crime, making sure that as opposed to my opponent, I will not divert drug dealers, lifelong criminals into the diversion court so that they can get out on the streets very quickly and continue to sell drugs to our children and our grandchildren," Murray said.
"And ... the fact that I have been endorsed by every single police union in Nassau County, Suffolk County, New York City and New York State, really speaks volumes. All the men and women of law enforcement in Nassau County, they've worked shoulder to shoulder with Madeline Singas for the last nine years and yet not one group has endorsed her."
Endorsed by Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Friday, Singas during her campaign stop brought up the case of Jo'Anna Bird, who was tortured and murdered by her former boyfriend in 2009. Singas, who was prosecutor on the case, said her 24 years' experience as a prosecutor helped secure a conviction on a first-degree murder charge -- a rarity for that type of crime -- and a sentence of life without the possibility of parole.
"The other day, I was in a debate with Kate Murray, and she said one thing she'd like to see is the law changed so that we can give the worst of the worst offenders life without the possibility of parole," Singas said. "So, you see, I think that just demonstrates that she has no idea. She wants to step in these shoes and has never done the work."
Murray, who accepted former Republican New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani's endorsement on Friday, expressed confusion over what she described as Singas' "negative campaign."
She said Singas "has never laid out her priorities. ... All she has done is run an attack campaign. Quite frankly, when you run an attack campaign, it means you don't want to talk about your own record. What is her record? What has she done? What is she going to do for Nassau County? No one knows. It's a big question mark."