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The Italian American Political Action Committee of New York has endorsed Republican Edward Mangano for Nassau County executive, bypassing Democrat Thomas Suozzi, a fellow Italian.

The executive board of the PAC, a nonpartisan group that is affiliated with more than 140 Italian-American organizations, said it had unanimously endorsed Mangano.

“We believe Ed Mangano is the kind of individual who embodies the type of leadership our organization supports,” said committee chairman Jack Como. “We endorse Ed Mangano for his appreciation of our own heritage, other cultures and for his respect of traditions while moving forward with a vision for the future.”

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 The group’s president, Jim Lisa, said it did not make an endorsement in the 2009 county executive race – when Mangano narrowly defeated Suozzi – but did support then-Attorney General Eliot Spitzer in the 2006 gubernatorial race over Suozzi.

“Nassau County is a melting pot of diverse heritages and Italian-Americans stand proudly among them,” Mangano said. “I am proud of my Italian roots and I am especially proud to earn this wonderful endorsement.”

In response to the endorsement, Suozzi campaign manager Danny Kazin criticized Mangano’s economic record.

 “Now we know that Ed Mangano has brought Nassau’s debt to the highest in its history -- the highest in New York State,” Kazin said. “Ed Mangano can't hide from his record of over $2 billion in borrowing that our kids can't afford.”

Suozzi will face businessman Adam Haber in the Democratic primary on Sept. 10.