Nassau Democratic chairman Jay Jacobs on Monday leveled harsh criticism against Democratic county executive candidate George Maragos, saying he had a “manipulative and duplicitous side,” and warning that his victory in a primary would put Democratic values “at risk.”
In a letter to county Democrats, Jacobs said he was compelled to respond to months of Maragos’ attacks on his leadership, both on Twitter and at candidate forums. For instance, Maragos said recently the party has been “insensitive” to minority communities.
“While George originally vigorously sought my endorsement, now that I have chosen not to endorse him, he has since painted me as an old-style ‘political boss,’ the type of which epitomizes the problems he campaigns against,” Jacobs wrote. “That is as much his privilege and prerogative as it is mine to inform you of my reasons for choosing to endorse anyone but him.”
The feud began in January, when Jacobs backed Legis. Laura Curran (D-Baldwin) for county executive over Maragos, the county comptroller. Maragos in September announced his departure from the GOP at an event where he stood beside Jacobs.
“I’m excited by his entry into the race,” Jacobs said then, while not specifically endorsing Maragos.
However, Jacobs wrote Monday that he felt “sandbagged” by Maragos’ announcing his county executive bid at the time of his party switch. He said Maragos told him initially that he would formally launch his campaign at a later date.
“I did see a manipulative and duplicitous side of him that gave me serious pause,” Jacobs wrote. He said he ultimately rejected Maragos because of conservative positions he took in a 2012 campaign for U.S. Senate.
Maragos called Jacobs’ letter “misleading and full of lapses in memory.” He said Jacobs knew he was going to announce his campaign on the same day of his party switch, and that he did not ask for an endorsement.
“He is obviously very rattled by my independent campaign gaining momentum to end the corruption in Nassau County, which he appears to represent,” Maragos said in a statement. He said Jacobs should “immediately resign so that we can start to end the corruption symptomatic of the party bosses.”