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Murray's strength in Hempstead assessed

Hempstead Supervisor Kate Murray bottle feeds one of

Hempstead Supervisor Kate Murray bottle feeds one of the nine newborn Nigerian dwarf goats used for keeping brush and grass under control at the town's Norman Levy Nature Preserve in Merrick. (May 9, 2010) Photo Credit: Newsday File

Could Hempstead Town Supervisor Kate Murray be beaten this year?

The cuddly image of the popular Republican, crafted by posing for photos with puppies, children and baby goats, has been damaged by reports of sky-high salaries and allegations of abuse at the town’s animal shelter, culminated by this week’s release of a “Kill the Kitty” video that showed shelter employees mocking an apparently soon-to-be-destroyed cat..

Shelter critics have scheduled another rally Saturday, predicting “hundreds” of demonstrators will show up to protest at the Wantagh facility.

But several political strategists doubt Murray, who is backed by the county’s still-powerful Republican organization, can be ousted unless opponents field a good challenger who can raise money and garner Democratic and minor party endorsements. And even that may not be enough.

They point to the election results this week in in the Village of Freeport, which has a Democratic enrollment edge.

Two Democratic candidates aligned with incumbent Mayor Andrew Hardwick, also a Democrat, were handily defeated by two incumbent Republicans who ran on the “Home Rule” party line.

Incumbents William H. White and Jorge Martinez easily held off Democrats Annette Dennis and Jane Dugan, both of  whom also ran on the Independence party line. 

A Murray spokesman declined to comment.

Photo: Hempstead Supervisor Kate Murray bottle feeds one of the nine newborn Nigerian dwarf goats used for keeping brush and grass under control at the town's Norman Levy Nature Preserve in Merrick. (May 9, 2010)

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