David Denenberg, left, and Michael Venditto.

David Denenberg, left, and Michael Venditto. Credit: David Pokress / James Escher

Anticipated as one of the marquee races that could tip control of the State Senate, the event got rained out.

The favorite to win the seat vacated by Republican Charles Fuschillo after 15 years of service was Nassau County Legis. David Denenberg, a 51-year-old Democrat from Merrick.

Battling to keep Senate control, the GOP chose Michael Venditto, 33, of Massapequa, a newly minted county legislator and son of longtime Oyster Bay Town Supervisor John Venditto, for whom he is sometimes mistaken.

Then, in a stunning development, Denenberg dropped out of the race after his former law firm accused him of bilking a client of more than $2 million. His name, however, remains on the ballot.

Essentially, voters now have only one real choice, Venditto, who has minimal legislative experience even as a local official, and a steep learning curve ahead to grasp the complexity involved in fulfilling his promise that "Long Island gets its fair share" from Albany.

But Venditto knows retail politics, having learned it at his father's knee. He is engaging and earnest, and this is his third campaign in three years. He won a special election in 2012 to replace the late Peter Schmitt in the legislature, and last year he won a full term for the county job.

The GOP bypassed more mature candidates, choosing a name, not experience, to win the seat. The party will likely succeed, but such a cynical approach is why voters are disillusioned.

Newsday makes no endorsement.

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