Republican Town of Hempstead Councilman Bruce Blakeman, a perennial figure in local and regional politics, will run for Nassau County executive, challenging incumbent Democrat Laura Curran in November.
Blakeman, 65, of Atlantic Beach, is a former private sector attorney and business consultant who was first appointed to the Hempstead Town council in 1993. He became the first presiding officer of the Nassau County Legislature in 1996, after the county abandoned the former Board of Supervisors structure.
Blakeman once served as a commissioner of the Port Authority and has sought several elected posts over the last three decades.
Blakeman said if elected he would bring, "fairness back to the [property] assessment system in Nassau," and find new ways to boost economic growth to increase the county's tax base.
"I am focused on the tax burden on the average person in Nassau," Blakeman said. "There is only so much they can take."
Nassau Republican Committee Chairman Joseph Cairo said the GOP was "excited" to have Blakeman lead the ticket this year.
Cairo said Blakeman
"has a plan that will stop the current administration’s tax hikes, promote responsible development in our region and protect our environmental assets."
Cairo said with 65% of Nassau's property owners seeing increased property taxes, Blakeman will "fix" the Curran administration's countywide reassessment program.
The Curran campaign referred questions to state and Nassau Democratic Chairman Jay Jacobs, who called Blakeman "another career politician who would take us backwards."
Jacobs also chided Blakeman for his support of former President Donald Trump.
"Bruce Blakeman needs to answer the question of whether or not he believes the last election was legitimate before he asks Nassau voters to consider him in this next one," Jacobs said.
Blakeman said he was "humbled" by the support of the Nassau GOP, particularly in the race against Curran, an incumbent who is seeking a second term.
"I wouldn't be running if I didn't think I would win," Blakeman said.
Blakeman's political career includes several unsuccessful bids for elected office.
In 1998, Blakeman ran unsuccessfully against Democratic state Comptroller H. Carl McCall.
A decade later, as a Manhattan resident, Blakeman he threw his hat in the ring in a brief, long shot primary race against New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, then a Republican. Blakeman eventually withdrew, supporting Bloomberg for a third term.
In 2010, Blakeman ran unsuccessfully against incumbent Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY). In 2014, Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-Garden City) defeated Blakeman in the race for the vacant seat of Democratic Rep. Carolyn McCarthy.
Blakeman has a bachelor's degree in political science from Arizona State University and a law degree from California Western School of Law.
He is married to Segal Magori Blakeman, an attorney, who worked in the county's housing department under former County Executive Edward Mangano.
Blakeman has one son, Arlen, from his first marriage to Nancy Shevell. Shevell is married to musician Paul McCartney.