Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano stayed out of the race last fall when fellow Republican Bruce Blakeman ran for Congress against Democrat Kathleen Rice, the former Nassau district attorney who won the seat vacated by former Democratic U.S. Rep. Carolyn McCarthy.
But now Mangano is backing Blakeman, who was appointed to the Hempstead Town Board in January and is running again this fall to retain the town job.
Blakeman’s campaign committee, Friends of Bruce Blakeman, and Mangano recently sent out a joint invitation to a fundraising reception honoring Blakeman at the Coral House in Baldwin on March 25.
Tickets are $150 a person while a “special dinner with County Executive Mangano” costs $1,000.
Blakeman, who ran a close race against Rice, said the fundraiser is intended to raise money for his town job, not a future congressional run, although some political observers predict Blakeman will challenge Rice in two years.
“I’ve got to run this November,” Blakeman said. “I’m not taking anything for granted."
Asked why Mangano was helping him now but not last November, Blakeman said, “We're longtime friends from our service on the inaugural county legislature and I still consider him a good friend. I’m very pleased that he’s supporting me.”
Blakeman was presiding officer of the first county legislature when it replaced the Board of Supervisors in 1996. He served until Democrats won a majority in the legislature in 1999. Mangano also was a member of the first legislature and continued to serve until he was sworn in as county executive in 2010
A Mangano spokesman did not return a request for comment on his current support of Blakeman
Sources close to Mangano told Newsday last fall that the county executive was staying neutral in the congressional race because he had a good relationship with both Blakeman and Rice.