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Long IslandPolitics

Special votes Tuesday in two LI Assembly districts

Long Islanders will vote in two special elections for the State Assembly Tuesday, in Nassau and Suffolk.

Voters in Nassau County's 15th Assembly District will fill the seat left last month by Republican Rob Walker, of Hicksville, who became chief deputy county executive under Ed Mangano.

The Republicans are running Michael Montesano, 55, a Glen Cove lawyer from neighboring Glen Head, who also has the Conservative and Independence parties' endorsements. Democrats are backing Matthew Meng, 58, of East Norwich, who owns and operates a specialty auto repair shop in Huntington.

They differ mainly about a proposed third track for the Long Island Rail Road between Queens Village and Hicksville, a big transit hub at the political heart of the assembly district.

Montesano offered no position on the track itself, but blasted the LIRR and its parent Metropolitan Transportation Agency as "poorly run." Meng, an environmentalist, is a big supporter of the third track and other mass transit efforts at improvement.

Republicans in the district significantly outnumber Democrats, 35,159 to 27,109. There are 20,805 unaffiliated voters.

In Suffolk, where the 3rd Assembly District's Patricia Eddington, a Democrat, became Brookhaven Town Clerk this year, Democrat Lauren Thoden, 27, of Patchogue, faces Dean Murray, 45, East Patchogue Republican.

Thoden, a judge's law clerk at the Appellate Division of State Supreme Court, and Murray, who owns a Medford publisher of advertising magazines, agree on most issues. But they disagree about the other's qualifications. Murray, who also has the Conservative and School Tax Relief parties' lines, called Thoden a product of the Democratic machine that he said has mismanaged state finances. Thoden, who also has the Independence and Working Families lines, said Murray's "claims of not being a politician" are "simply untrue."

The district has 25,731 Republicans, 25,343 Democrats and 19,760 with no affiliation.

Polls open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.

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