Democratic Nassau County executive candidate George Maragos on Friday released his campaign’s first television ad, highlighting a two-year-old clip of his primary opponent, Laura Curran as she struggled to answer a question about county finances.
Maragos, the county comptroller, said the ad will run through the Sept. 12 primary on Fios networks beginning Friday and on Altice networks starting Monday. He declined to say how much his campaign spent on producing and buying airtime for the spot.
The ad starts by listing county issues including high taxes and housing costs, corruption and “failing public transit.” It then cuts to video of a May 2015 interview that Curran, a Democratic county legislator from Baldwin, did with then-Nassau Police Benevolent Association President James Carver.
Carver asks Curran how she would balance the county’s budget without borrowing if expenses ran higher than revenues.
“You know what? I wish I knew the answer,” Curran says.
The ad’s narrator says: “Is this the person to fix the mess? We deserve better,” before listing some of Maragos’ accomplishments over nearly eight years as comptroller.
“I think it’s a very effective piece to highlight her lack of qualifications for the job,” Maragos said of Curran in an interview. Curran is a a former newspaper reporter and Baldwin school board trustee who was elected to the county legislature in 2013.
In a section of the interview that Maragos’ ad doesn’t include, Curran continues: “It’s a budget. It’s money coming in and money going out. Do you cut? Do you raise taxes? Do you get more revenue? What do you do? I don’t know. That’s something I’m going to think about now.”
Curran, who is backed by the Nassau Democratic Committee and nearly all of the county’s elected Democrats, responded to Maragos’ ad by knocking the comptroller’s previous positions on many issues.
Maragos, who switched from Republican to Democrat last September, ran on the same ticket as Republican County Executive Edward Mangano in 2009 and 2013. In 2010 and 2012, Maragos ran for the U.S. Senate as a Republican. He has said that his views have evolved, prompting his switch to the Democratic Party.
“What this ad won’t tell you, and what no amount of money can hide, is that George Maragos is an anti-choice, climate change denying, Tea Party Republican who was Ed Mangano’s two-time running-mate, and repeatedly called for the repeal of the Affordable Care Act while accusing President Obama of taking us down the road to socialism,” Curran campaign spokesman Philip Shulman said in a statement.
Shulman did not respond to a question about whether Curran planned to run any television ads before the primary.