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John Venditto's arrest may help a Democrat beat his son


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The 1,500 lawn signs for the State Senate race in the 8th District were late in arriving — delivered to Nassau County Democratic Party headquarters just Wednesday, less than three weeks before Election Day.

But the lateness of the campaign swag wasn’t a big deal. While the battle for control of the State Senate is being bitterly fought in Nassau County, the seat held by one-term incumbent Michael Venditto, a Republican, wasn’t considered in play by state party leaders because of the strength of the family name.

But everything changed on Thursday night as word spread of the imminent indictment of Oyster Bay Town Supervisor John Venditto, the father of State Sen. Michael Venditto.

Now Democratic challenger John Brooks, a longtime community activist with a complex plan to reduce property taxes by changing how the state funds education, suddenly has a lot of friends.

The younger Venditto had minimal experience when he was first chosen to run for the Nassau County Legislature in a special election after the death of Peter Schmitt in 2012. He then was tapped to run for the State Senate seat in 2014, when Charles Fuschillo decided not to seek re-election.

Joseph Saladino, whose Assembly seat covers part of the Senate district, would have been the likely candidate, but the younger Venditto got the edge because of name recognition.

Now state Democrats are mobilizing to send resources to the district on the theory that angry Republicans will vote against the Venditto name when they see it on the ballot on Nov. 8.

And those 1,500 “Say No to Venditto” signs that Democratic County Chairman Jay Jacobs ordered months ago? They are being hammered into the ground Thursday afternoon. No longer an afterthought.

This originally appeared in The Point, a daily newsletter from the editorial board.


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