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Nassau 2013 executive race sets record as Mangano, Suozzi spend $10M in total

Republican and Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano, left,

Republican and Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano, left, and former Nassau County Executive Thomas Suozzi. Credit: J. Conrad Williams Jr./Howard Schnapp

The race for Nassau County executive was the most expensive Long Island has ever seen, with Republican Edward Mangano and Democrat Thomas Suozzi combining to spend $10 million this year, new campaign finance reports show.

Mangano, who defeated Suozzi by 18 points on Nov. 5 to win a second term, was outspent in the final campaign filing period from Oct. 22 to Nov. 28 -- $1.17 million for Suozzi to Mangano's $954,197, according to reports filed this week with the State Board of Elections.

But over the entire year, Mangano outraised and outspent Suozzi, who had sought to reclaim the job he narrowly lost to Mangano in 2009.

Suozzi declared his candidacy in February, and through a Democratic primary and the general election raised $3.5 million and spent $4.2 million.

Mangano received $3.8 million in donations in 2013, bringing his fundraising total since the 2009 election to about $8 million. He spent $5.9 million this year, with nearly half that going for frequent television ads that slammed Suozzi for raising property taxes. Since the end of 2009, Mangano has spent about $8.1 million.

"These numbers are mind-numbing," Lawrence Levy, executive dean of the National Center for Suburban Studies at Hofstra University, said of the spending this year by Mangano and Suozzi. "There has not been any campaign like it on Long Island -- and certainly not ever for a local office."

In the next most expensive race, Rep. Tim Bishop (D-Southampton) and Republican Randy Altschuler spent a combined $6 million last year in their rematch in the 1st Congressional District in Suffolk County. Independent organizations, such as Super PACs, added $3.5 million of their own spending.

In the 2011 campaign for Suffolk County executive, Democrat Steve Bellone and Republican Angie Carpenter barely topped $3 million in combined spending, the bulk by Bellone.

In the 2009 Suozzi-Mangano race, total spending was less than $2.5 million, with Suozzi responsible for $2 million. He left more than $1 million in the bank, later saying he did not work hard enough against Mangano, then a Nassau legislator. Mangano won by less than 400 votes in 2009, and won by nearly 50,000 votes this year.

In the most recent reporting period, Suozzi's largest donors were the Nassau Democratic Committee, which made two contributions totaling $175,000, and county Democratic chairman Jay Jacobs, who gave $37,500.

The Dolan family, which owns controlling interest in Cablevision, also remained among Suozzi's largest donors. Suozzi once worked for Cablevision.

James Dolan, chief executive of Cablevision and MSG, contributed $20,000 while his wife, Kristin, also gave $20,000. James Dolan's parents, Charles and Helen Dolan of Oyster Bay, gave Suozzi $20,000 apiece.

Donations to Suozzi from Dolan family members and Cablevision totaled $365,000 between April and November. Cablevision declined to comment.

Suozzi declined to comment.

Mangano's largest donors over the final filing period included the North Valley Stream Republican Committee, which contributed $13,575. Roger L. Bahnik, chief executive of the Oyster Bay manufacturing firm Mill-Max, shopping center developer John J. Cafaro and Richard Bohm of Point Lookout contributed $10,000 each.

Over the past year, Mangano's three largest donations -- totaling $338,000 -- came from local GOP clubs in Nassau. He also has received more than $270,000 from companies or their principals that got county superstorm Sandy contracts. Brian Nevin, Mangano's spokesman, previously said the administration "does not instruct anyone to donate or not donate funds."

Tuesday, Nevin called the campaign "one of the most expensive . . . in the state and in the history of Nassau County." He noted that Mangano's support was a result of "his policies of freezing property taxes and creating local jobs."

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