Sources say Nassau Comptroller George Maragos told some staff members Wednesday that he will be changing his party registration from Republican to run for county executive as a Democrat next year, per an agreement with Nassau Democratic Chairman Jay Jacobs.
A change in enrollment must be received by the county elections board by Oct. 14 for it to become effective after November’s general election. Any later change would not become official until after next year’s county executive election.
A Maragos spokeswoman Thursday flatly denied that Maragos met with any staff members on Wednesday to talk about running for county executive. “We do not discuss politics in this office,” said Carla Hall D’Ambra.
Jacobs, meanwhile, sidestepped the report. “We have an agreement to go dinner,” Jacobs said of Maragos. Jacobs said the dinner is “upcoming,” but declined to give a date.
“I think we agree and I will agree to an appetizer, a main course and perhaps, I’m not sure yet, dessert. Beyond that, I don’t know of any agreement I am prepared to predict at this time,” Jacobs said.
Rumors have circulated for months that Maragos, a wealthy businessman before he first ran for county comptroller in 2009, would change his registration to run for the county’s top office. He has angered Republicans by firing party members who worked for him, while issuing audits critical of Republican County Executive Edward Mangano’s administration.
Maragos recently publicly tweeted his congratulations to Howard Weitzman, the former Democratic county comptroller whom Maragos defeated twice, when Weitzman was appointed to the county’s financial control board.
Maragos also tweeted congratulations to Democratic County Executive Thomas Suozzi, after Suozzi won a Democratic primary to run for Congress.
While Mangano appears to be preparing to run for a third term by scheduling frequent fundraisers and issuing numerous news releases, the Bethpage Republican has said he will wait until early next year to announce whether he will run for a third term.
Asked if he favored Maragos for county executive, Jacobs said, “I know George and I like him. There’s a lot that goes into the decision as to who the party will support for county executive, but we’re not there yet. I am happy to talk to him about it and I will be talking to others.”
“When I see what the whole field looks like and see what each of their prospects are, I will make a decision about where I want to go and what I will recommend to the county committee,” Jacobs said. “I am looking forward to our dinner.”
Other names circulating as possible Democratic candidates for county executive next year are Nassau Legis. Laura Curran of Baldwin, who has expressed interest in the race; Jack Schnirman, city manager of Long Beach; Assemb. Charles Lavine, of Glen Cove; and even former Nassau District Attorney and current Rep. Kathleen Rice, who is running for her second term in Congress this fall.
“Right now I’m happy to talk to anyone interested,” Jacobs said.