Suozzi Sweats One Out

Race for Nassau County Executive is too close to call

By Greg Cergol
|  Wednesday, Nov 4, 2009  |  Updated 7:20 AM EDT
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Suozzi Sweats One Out

AP

Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi held to a small lead election night.

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It's a shocker.

Nassau county executive Thomas Suozzi could barely hide his surprise after addressing subdued supporters at the Long Island Marriott in Uniondale hours after the polls closed.

The Democratic incumbent who was expected to win a third term was unable to declare victory early Wednesday.

With all but three election districts reporting, Suozzi leads his Republican challenger Edward Mangano by 406 votes out of more than 235-thousand cast.

With that razor slim lead and thousands of absentee ballots still to be counted, Suozzi told local Democrats it could take weeks before a winner is determined.

"We're not going to know the answer to this race for awhile; but I believe we're going to win," Suozzi said.

By Republican accounts, Suozzi out spent Mangano, a seven-term county legislator, by a four-to-one margin.

Yet the challenger's grassroots campaign has pushed Suozzi to the brink of defeat.

"The public is in a bad mood," Suozzi explained. "They're not happy about high taxes and they took it out on incumbents."

And it appears Nassau's next county executive will have to deal with a Republican controlled legislature.

Nassau's Democratic chairman conceded late Tuesday night that the GOP has regained a majority in the 19 seat legislature.

In the other significant countywide race, incumbent district attorney Kathleen Rice, a Democrat won easy re-election over Republican challenger Joy Watson.

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