Nassau Republicans selected Joseph Cairo as their new county chairman Thursday night as Joseph Mondello prepared to step down before Senate confirmation hearings on his appointment as U.S. ambassador to Trinidad and Tobago.
Cairo, 72, of North Valley Stream, is the party’s first vice chairman and serves as president of Nassau Regional Off-Track Betting Corp. He also is executive GOP leader in North Valley Stream and chairman of the North Hempstead Republicans.
Mondello, 80, of Oyster Bay Cove, has served as chairman of the powerful party organization since 1983.
Cairo, a mainstay in the organization, is sometimes referred to as Mondello’s “strong right arm.”
Mondello’s resignation takes effect at the close of business next Thursday, and Cairo’s appointment begins next day.
During a speech to the convention, Cairo said: “If we come together, there is so much strength together in this room. They can’t beat us. We’re going to win. We’re going to win elections.”
Standing in front of the party’s slate of candidates, Cairo added: “We’ve had some losses over the years. We took some tough ones last year. But the victories greatly outnumber the defeats.”
Mondello, in a speech introducing Cairo, said his successor has “been sitting next to me at my side for the last 40 years. More than 40 years.”
Committee members at the convention selected Cairo, whose nomination was announced by former Hempstead Supervisor Anthony Santino. Santino likened Cairo replacing Mondello to when Ralph Houk replaced Casey Stengel as Yankees manager after the 1960 season.
To which Mondello replied: “I’m not a Yankee fan. I like the Mets.”
Cairo’s first act was to appoint Mondello as “chairman emeritus.”
Mondello, in a speech to committeemen, quoted Ecclesiastes 3: “To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.”
“It’s still hard for me to believe that a poor kid from Brooklyn could have ever had the opportunity to be the guest of the president of the United States in the White House and on Air Force One,” he said.
Speaking of Republican headquarters, he said, “A big part of me will always be here, at 164 Post Avenue, where so much history was made. And no matter what the media says, so much good was done for the people of Nassau County.”
Nassau Republicans were expected Thursday night to select their candidates for federal, state and local offices:
2nd Congressional District: Peter T. King
3rd: Dan P. DeBono
4th: Ameer N. Benno
5th District: Carl L. Marcellino
6th: Kemp Hannon
7th: Elaine Phillips
8th: Jeffrey P. Pravato
9th: Francis X. Becker, Jr.
9th District: Candidate to be determined
13th: Andrew A. Monteleone
14th: David G. McDonough
15th: Michael A. Montesano
16th: Byron A. Divins, Jr.
17th: John K. Mikulin
18th: James Lamarre
19th: Edward P. Ra
20th: Melissa L. Miller
21st: Brian F. Curran
22nd: Gonald Moncion
County Court Judge
Family Court Judge
Robin M. Kent
2nd District Court Judge (vote for 2)
Michael W. Alpert
Charles J. Casolaro
3rd District Court
4th District Court (vote for 1)
Colin F. O’Donnell
Douglas J. Lerose
City of Glen Cove City Judge
Richard J. McCord
City of Long Beach City Judge
Source: Nassau County Republican Committee