Hempstead Democrats are launching their campaign seeking to unseat the Republican majority town board.
The Democratic ticket is being led by a first-time candidate, Garden City lawyer Jason Abelove, who is challenging Hempstead Supervisor Don Clavin. Clavin is seeking reelection for his second term after serving 18 years as the town’s receiver of taxes.
Abelove, 51, of Oceanside, is an employment law and discrimination attorney leading a ticket with challengers Aaron Eitan Meyer running against Councilman Anthony D’Esposito and Matthew Galante running against Councilman Dennis Dunne.
The board’s lone Democrat, Senior Councilwoman Dorothy Goosby who has served on the board since 1999, is also seeking reelection against Republican James Lamarre.
Democrat Olena Nicks is running to unseat Town Clerk Kate Murray
In their first campaign finance reports filed last week, Clavin outraised Abelove by about a 4-1 margin. Clavin has about $614,000 on hand to Abelove’s $102,000.
"I am going to beat Don Clavin," Abelove said. "I owe nobody any favors and I don’t have any relatives in the town. Small business owners are fed up and I really want to get in there and fight for residents in this town."
Abelove said he was inspired to run after elected Democratic officials questioned how the town spent $133 million in federal CARES funding it received last year during the pandemic. The town used $70 million to cover payroll, including $43 million to the sanitation department. Town officials also awarded about $30 million in grants to hospitals, schools, food banks and grants to businesses for personal protective equipment.
Nassau Republican chairman Joe Cairo said Clavin and Republican Town Board members were running on their record.
"They've cut taxes, reduced spending and are helping neighbors," Cairo said in a statement. "Don Clavin and his colleagues are providing COVID relief to people in the form of testing and inoculations, as well as aid to schools, hospitals and more."
Nassau County Democratic chairman Jay Jacobs said Abelove is showing he can be an alternative to the Republican machine that he called a patronage mill.
"Don Clavin has been pumping a lot of self-congratulatory puff pieces on the taxpayers dime," Jacobs said. "I think the voters will retire Clavin and choose change."