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Mondello stepping down

Joseph Mondello, chairman of the Republican Committee.

Joseph Mondello, chairman of the Republican Committee. Credit: Johnny Milano

This originally appeared in The Point. To subscribe, click here.

An era ended Monday with the resignation of Joseph Mondello, who has chaired the Nassau County Republican Party for the past 35 years.

Although his announcement cites a desire to spend more time with his wife, kids and grandkids as the reason for stepping down, Mondello, 80, is up for an ambassadorship to Trinidad and Tobago, and has long been expected to give up the chairmanship.

He went out with one last salute to his allies and a final barb to his antagonists in the media. “No matter what the future holds, or where that future takes me a big part of me will always be here – at 164 Post Avenue – where so much history was made – and no matter what the media says – so much good was done for the people of Nassau County,” he said in a statement.

What now for the future of the Nassau County Republican Party and its leadership? The county committee is expected to meet Thursday and a vote on leadership could come then. But in some ways, the future is as uncertain as it was when Mondello took over after the conviction of his predecessor, the late Joseph Margiotta, on extortion and mail fraud charges.

Former Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano and former Town of Oyster Bay Supervisor John Venditto are in the waning days of their federal corruption trial. Democrats named Laura have taken over traditional GOP roles, Curran at county executive and Gillen as Hempstead Town supervisor. The GOP brand in Nassau is tarnished. The state party Mondello also ran for years is dwindling rapidly.

With Mondello protege Anthony Santino managing to lose the Hempstead supervisor’s spot to Democrats last year and create a storm of controversy on his way out, the assumption was that Mondello’s likely successor was Hempstead Town Republican leader and OTB president Joe Cairo. Cairo still has the inside track, but his grasp on the post is far from certain as a party reeling from scandal may look for leadership less clearly connected to its past.

Mondello’s resignation officially takes effect in 10 days, but the jockeying that has been quietly occurring for quite some time officially began at 5 p.m. today.

This item has been updated to correct an earlier version that misidentified the age of Joseph Mondello.