Nassau Democratic elections commissioner David Gugerty and Christopher Ostuni, counsel for majority Republicans on the Nassau County Legislature, have been cross-endorsed by county Democrats and Republicans for state Supreme Court in November, Nassau and state Democratic chairman Jay Jacobs said last week.
Gugerty is the Democratic Oyster Bay Town leader while Ostuni is the son-in-law of former Nassau Republican chairman Joseph Mondello.
Jacobs said the cross-endorsements are subject to both candidates being found qualified by the screening committee of the Nassau Bar Assocation.
Working with Nassau GOP chairman Joseph Cairo, Jacobs said, “We made what I can only describe as a fair agreement to continue the process of balancing out the judiciary and making it as nonpolitical as possible.”
Each political party chooses its candidate to be cross-endorsed. “I defer to chairman Cairo and he defers to me on these arrangements," Jacobs said.
Unlike legislative or executive candidates, Jacobs said, “in the judiciary you want it to be nonpartisan. The only way to do that is to make it as noncompetitive and as fair as you possibly can.”
Jacobs quipped, “Isn’t this the way we wish the United States Senate worked?”
Cairo spokesman Michael Deery said, “We have agreed to a bipartisan approach to selecting candidates for Supreme Court this year and we’re looking for equal representation. We believe the bipartisan approach is in the best interests of the people of Nassau County. It’s premature to confirm any individual candidates. We have several qualified sitting judges and other candidates.”
Party sources say Family Court Judge Danielle Peterson, daughter of former Hempstead Presiding Supervisor Greg Peterson, a Republican, also is under consideration for cross-endorsement for Supreme Court.
Jacobs said Gugerty will have to step down as elections commissioner before he is nominated at the Nassau Democratic convention Aug. 14. Jacobs declined to say who he will recommend to take Gugerty's place at the elections board.
Gugerty’s wife Helene Gugerty is a Nassau County Court judge, acting as a Supreme Court justice.