Next month's special election gives Glen Cove Republicans a second chance this year at dominating the City Council, once a Democratic stronghold.
While the council race between Theresa Moschetta, a Democrat, and Joseph Capobianco, a Republican, is being watched, sitting member Timothy Tenke's quest for county judgeship has complicated the election.
The Democrat's seat would be filled by an appointee chosen by the City Council, which could lean either way on the panel, which is now split 3-3 with the mayor, an Independence Party member. There hasn't been a GOP majority on the council for more than two decades, city officials said.
Lawrence Levy, who heads the National Center for Suburban Studies at Hofstra University, said the GOP may face a challenge because more Democrats tend to vote in statewide elections. "This is going to be a real test of whether the Republicans in Glen Cove were able to demonstrate that they are worth keeping around."
Glen Cove has 16,135 registered voters -- including 6,641 Democrats, 4,526 Republicans, and 3,780 unregistered, according to the Nassau County Board of Elections.
Paul Meli, Glen Cove Republican Committee chairman, said the vote may be influenced by the Democrats' handling of city finances.
This week, state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli's office said the city's proposed budget for next year "contains significant financial risks that the City Council should consider when adopting the 2015 budget." The council unanimously approved the budget Tuesday night.
"I think Glen Cove's financial state speaks for itself, and it is the result of Democratic rule for two decades," said Meli, who unsuccessfully challenged former Mayor Ralph Suozzi in 2009 and 2011.
Tenke, a council member since 2005, said Suozzi inherited a large deficit. "It was under Mayor Suozzi's leadership that we were able to start to repair our finances."
Ann Famigliette, chairwoman of the city's Democratic Committee, said she's confident in Moschetta and Tenke, who have "run very good campaigns and have been working very diligently."
When asked about a possible GOP majority, she said, "Until it actually happens, I try to stay optimistic."
Meli said Republicans have won several city government seats in recent years. Republicans Efraim Spagnoletti and Pamela Panzenbeck were elected to the council in 2013.
Also last year, Mayor Reginald Spinello, who is an Independence Party member, ran on the GOP line.
The death in April of City Councilman Nicholas DiLeo, a Democrat, left the council with three Republicans and two Democrats.
Anthony Jimenez, a Democrat, was appointed in July to fill the vacant seat until November, after months of acrimony.
Spinello has backed Capobianco, who was nominated in May. "I think Joe is an advocate for my agenda, and I certainly would like to have him here."
Of a possible GOP majority, he said: "I think that one thing that has shown over time is that I've been able to work with both sides. When I put up an agenda right for Glen Cove, it doesn't matter what side of the aisle you are on."