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Bruce Blakeman defeats Laura Curran for Nassau executive after count of absentees

Nassau County elect Bruce Blakeman in his office

Nassau County elect Bruce Blakeman in his office at Town Hall in Hempstead, Nov. 4. Credit: Newsday/J. Conrad Williams Jr.

Republican Bruce Blakeman defeated Democratic Nassau County Executive Laura Curran after the Nassau Board of Elections completed its count of absentee ballots.

After completion of the absentee count Tuesday, Blakeman had 142,626 votes, compared with Curran's 140,476 votes, said Nassau Democratic Board of Elections commissioner James Scheuerman.

In an interview with Newsday, Blakeman pledged to work to fix Nassau's property assessment system, lower taxes and reduce crime.

"I'm very happy. I'm very thankful that the voters of Nassau County have given me their confidence," Blakeman said. "I'm looking forward to moving forward and doing a great job for the people of Nassau County."

in a statement, Curran said, "this is not the result we hoped for, but there is so much to be proud of," including cleaning up "the corruption and fiscal mismanagement that plagued county government … "

Curran continued: "I love our county and our residents, and pledge a positive transition. From the bottom of my heart, I thank you for allowing me the opportunity and the privilege to serve you these last four years."

Blakeman said he received a "very gracious and kind call" from Curran on Tuesday.

"She was very helpful and assured me that we would have a smooth transition, and I thanked her for her service and I think that she has a bright future," Blakeman said.

The count of 22,523 absentee ballots, 983 affidavit ballots, and 219 emergency ballots ended at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, Scheuerman said. Election officials counted the results over two days.

Affidavit ballots are submitted by voters who are not on poll lists when they arrive to vote. If the individuals later are deemed eligible to vote, their votes are counted.

Emergency votes often are cast when machines are temporarily broken.

Scheuerman said Curran had a "70 some odd percent" success rate in winning absentee ballots — an "amazing run that I've never seen before."

However, "it wasn't enough to trigger a recount," Scheuerman said.

On election night on Nov. 2, Blakeman had an 11,834-vote lead over Curran.

By the time the absentee count stopped for the day on Monday, Blakeman's lead had shrunk to 5,436 votes, Scott Cushing, an aide to Nassau County Board of Elections' Republican commissioner Joseph Kearney, said.

"The numbers speak for themselves," said Jay Jacobs, Nassau Democratic chairman.

Curran "overwhelmed it in the absentees, just not enough," said Jacobs, who also chairs the state Democratic Party.

Blakeman's victory over Curran represents a political comeback for Blakeman, 66, of Atlantic Beach.

A former presiding officer of the Nassau County Legislature, Blakeman was voted out in 1999 after the Republican-led legislature passed a property tax hike of 9.4% in an effort to close county budget deficits.

Subsequently, Blakeman ran unsuccessfully for New York State comptroller, New York City mayor, U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives.

He was appointed to the Hempstead Town Board in 2015, and subsequently was elected to full terms.

Curran was elected Nassau County's first female county executive in 2017.

She had campaigned on an anti-corruption message, a year after Republican County Executive Edward Mangano was arrested on federal charges of accepting bribes and kickbacks.

Curran also was helped by Democrats who were motivated to turn out in the first year of Donald Trump's presidency, and labor union members who opposed a ballot initiative to create a statewide constitutional convention.

The union leaders feared a convention would lead to the erasure of health and pension benefits.

In 2021, Curran campaigned for reelection on her record of helping Nassau residents get through the coronavirus pandemic, boosting public safety and achieving successive county budget surpluses.

Blakeman campaigned against Curran's countywide property reassessment, which took effect in the 2020-21 tax year.

Blakeman cited the reassessment as a prime reason school tax bills increased for many county residents.

Blakeman and other Republicans also ran against state bail reform laws that ended cash bail for most misdemeanors and nonviolent felonies.

Republicans cited economic conditions such as inflation and the supply chain crisis as key reasons for their victory.

In the end, Nassau Republicans flipped control of the district attorney, comptroller and county executive's offices in a complete sweep.

"We have to follow through on the themes of the campaign, which was the reassessment, taxes, and crime," Blakeman said Tuesday of his priorities as county executive.

Blakeman said his and Curran's staff will meet first, and Curran and he "will get together after that. We'll get the transition going, beginning of next week, likely."

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