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Laura Curran: I'd have won if Todd Kaminsky hadn't been on Democratic ticket

Nassau County Executive Laura Curran and State Sen.

Nassau County Executive Laura Curran and State Sen. Todd Kaminsky at an event on Oct. 25. Credit: Debbie Egan-Chin

Outgoing Nassau County Executive Laura Curran says she would have won reelection if State Sen. Todd Kaminsky (D-Long Beach) hadn't been on the Democratic ticket for Nassau district attorney.

Throughout the district attorney campaign, Republicans attacked Kaminsky as the "author" of new state bail reform laws that eliminated cash bail for most misdemeanors and nonviolent crimes.

Asked about Kaminsky recently on WABC's radio talk show "Bernie & Sid in the Morning," Curran said, "There’s no doubt in my mind that I would have won if he were not on the ticket. I lost by about 2,100 votes."

Curran continued, "As I was out and about, knocking on doors, talking to people, people would be like, 'Well I really like you, I’m a Republican. I’m thinking of voting for you. But this Todd Kaminsky guy, I don't know, I don’t like it.'"

Kaminsky did not respond to requests for comment about Curran's remarks.

During the campaign, Kaminsky denied that he wrote the bail reform bill, and said he fought to revise the plan to give judges more discretion in deciding whether to release defendants.

Along with many other Democrats in the State Legislature, Kaminsky voted for bail reform laws that took effect in 2020 as part of the annual budget deal.

Republicans circulated a video in which State Sen. Michael Gianaris (D-Astoria) thanked Kaminsky after the bail reform law passed, for putting "words on the paper to make this happen."

Kaminsky lost his race to Republican Anne Donnelly, a veteran Nassau County prosecutor, by 46,940 votes, according to the Nassau County Board of Elections.

Curran lost to Republican Bruce Blakeman by a total of 2,146 votes.

Curran's comments on the WABC radio show offer a glimpse into conflicts among Nassau Democratic candidates and officials during the 2021 campaign.

Republicans swept all countywide offices in the Nov. 2 elections, and increased their majority in the county legislature.

Democrats have been pointing fingers, citing poor turnout in Democrat strongholds and Republicans' better than expected performance.

"As I was out there campaigning, I did hear things like ‘well, you’re great, but some of these other people not so much. What are you doing with that?'" Curran said on the WABC program.

Curran said the decision about whether to endorse Kaminsky was tricky.

"I couldn’t say I’m not endorsing him, because I'm running with the guy, but I never formally came out and endorsed him," Curran said on WABC.

"But then of course I’ve kind of got to eat it, because he’s on the ticket," she said. "And I’m a team player, and it’s just the way it is."

On Nov. 30, Curran told Jay Oliver on his show on LI News Radio that, "had some different decisions been made politically around me, not necessarily by me, but around me, I think I would have been able to buck the trend."

"However, I didn't, and that did not happen and you know, that's life, that's politics, you're up you're down, you're over and out — you know it's like that Frank Sinatra song," Curran said.

"When you lose by that small of an amount, everything makes a difference," Nassau Democratic Chairman Jay Jacobs said of Curran.

"I don't think that you can discount what she's saying, but I think there are lots of things that went into a loss that is so tight," said Jacobs, who also heads the state Democratic Committee.

Jacobs said the GOP criticism of Kaminsky for his bail reform vote — though unfair — was top of mind for party officials.

"We always had concerns; we balance those, we weigh those," Jacobs said.

Jacobs said Kaminsky's campaign consultants could have responded earlier to GOP attacks on the bail reform issue.

"I will say that my advice to the campaign was that early on, we should take on bail reform in June, we had the money to do so in the DA candidate's account," Jacobs said.

But "consultants felt that was something that could wait," he said. "A lot of us on the political end, party-wise, disagreed with that. Who knows?"

Nonetheless, "I don't believe any one thing caused this defeat, and fundamentally it was the political environment," Jacobs said.

Jacobs confirmed that Curran had shared her apprehension about adding Kaminsky to the party ticket.

"In fairness, she did voice those concerns," Jacobs said.

" … But then again, the other issue was what other candidates do you have," for the district attorney's race other than Kaminsky.

"Nobody else had any money, and we were in a short time-frame," Jacobs said.

Speaking on the Berman and Riedel show on 710 WOR, Curran said she "earned the wrath of some of my colleagues," for writing an op-ed opposing the bail reform laws in The Daily News in January 2020.

Curran said she feels somewhat adrift as a pro-police and pro-business Democrat.

"I honestly don't know what team I belong to right now," she said on the radio program. "I don't know if I feel at home in either one. It's a strange place to be."

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