Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano lost one of his last shots at a minor party ballot line for re-election when a potential stand-in candidate collected too few signatures to run on the Independence Party line, election officials said Monday.
The minor party had been circulating petitions with the name of Rick Bellando, the party chairman, as its county executive candidate.
Sources said Bellando would have served as a placeholder and was expected to decline the nomination, allowing the party to select a new candidate later this week.
Mangano, sources said, was holding out hope that he would be nominated by the Independence Party to run a third-party campaign against former State Sen. Jack Martins, the Republican nominee.
Nassau Legis. Laura Curran (D-Baldwin) and county Comptroller George Maragos are vying for the Democratic nomination.
David Gugerty, Nassau’s Democratic Board of Elections commissioner, confirmed Monday that the Independence Party obtained only 1,150 of the 1,794 signatures needed to secure a spot on the November ballot for county executive.
Gugerty declined to comment on whether the board would immediately rule the Independence Party petitions invalid or if they would need to be challenged.
The Independence Party had been Mangano’s final path to run for a third term on an established party line.
Mangano’s options to seek re-election are limited to circulating independent nominating petitions for a new or smaller ballot line such as the Tax Revolt Party. He would need to collect 1,500 valid signatures by Aug. 15 from voters who have not signed any other ballot petitions this election cycle.
Elections lawyer John Ciampoli, who served as county attorney during Mangano’s first term, argued that Mangano no longer has the political operation needed to circulate petitions.
“The possibility of him circulating independent nominating petitions is incredibly small,” said Ciampoli, who has served as counsel to the Republican-controlled State Senate in Albany. “You need an organization to get it done.”
Newsday reported last week that Mangano, who pleaded not guilty in October to federal corruption charges, declined to collect signatures to primary Martins for the GOP nomination.
Bellando, who works as catering manager for Oheka Castle owner Gary Melius, endorsed his re-election campaign in 2013.
Bellando did not respond to calls for comment. Mangano spokesman Ed Ward declined to comment.
Long Beach City Manager Jack Schnirman was endorsed by the Independence Party but did not mount an effort to seek the signatures, a campaign source said.
County Clerk Maureen O’Connell, a Republican seeking a fourth term, is the only countywide candidate to secure enough signatures to run on the Independence line, Gugerty said.
With Paul LaRocco