Nassau Democratic county executive candidate George Maragos declared the “beginning of a new era in county politics” Thursday as he announced formation of a ticket to challenge candidates backed by the county Democratic Party in the Sept. 12 primary.
At a news conference in Mineola with several dozen residents, Maragos, who is serving his second term as county comptroller, announced Carl DeHaney Jr. of Roosevelt as his running mate for county clerk.
DeHaney, who works in the county’s Department of Human Services, was elected in 2014 to the board of commissioners in the Town of Hempstead’s Sanitary District 2.
Maragos said in the coming weeks he plans to recruit a candidate for comptroller, and potentially for several county legislative seats, for his “Independent Democratic” line to challenge Democratic incumbents.
“Ordinary residents are rising up to take back their government from the political bosses and the special interests,” said Maragos, who said he would provide some funding to his ticket mates.
DeHaney will run against clerk candidate Dean Bennett, who runs a Baldwin consulting firm and has the backing of the Nassau Democratic Party. GOP County Clerk Maureen O’Connell plans to seek a fourth term.
DeHaney said that as clerk, he would improve community outreach and reduce “obscene fees . . . affecting mostly middle class and minority communities.”
Nassau Democrats have endorsed Legis. Laura Curran (D-Baldwin) for county executive and Long Beach City Manager Jack Schnirman for comptroller. Assemb. Charles Lavine (D-Glen Cove) also is running for county executive.
Nassau Democratic Party chairman Jay Jacobs said Maragos is trying to “channel” Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), a former Democratic presidential candidate, while talking like Republican President Donald Trump.
“In the end, he’s just the same old Tea Party George he has always been,” Jacobs said. “Nassau voters are too smart. They won’t be fooled by him.”
Maragos changed his party affiliation from GOP to Democrat last year.
Also Thursday, Democratic strategist Hank Sheinkopf said he quit Maragos’ county executive campaign, citing “other work to do.” Maragos said the departure was a mutual decision.
Democrats also unveiled a website — teapartygeorge.com — highlighting some of Maragos’ past comments as a Republican, juxtaposing him with images of Trump, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. Maragos says his positions have “evolved.”
With Paul LaRocco