Nassau County: Mangano Wins

I mentioned this earlier, but it deserves it's own post. A month after election day, Democrat Tom Suozzi, the County Executive in Nassau County, ...
by | December 2, 2009
 

I mentioned this earlier, but it deserves it's own post. A month after election day, Democrat Tom Suozzi, the County Executive in Nassau County, New York, has conceded defeat.

Most of the attention for the last month (from myself and other journalists) has focused on Suozzi and not Edward Mangano, the Republican who defeated him. That's understandable because Suozzi was the one-time rising star whose political career has suffered a perhaps-fatal blow. Still, now that he is the 386-vote winner, Mangano deserves a little bit of attention. Newsday covered some of the basics:

Ed Mangano was a sophomore at Bethpage High School in the late 1970s and looking for a job. The school had scores of positions posted on index cards on a bulletin board, but by the time the seniors and juniors took their shots and it was time for the sophomores, only two jobs were left - as janitors.

Mangano, then 16, took one of them, at a local printing company. It was "a horrific job," he recalled yesterday, with the bathroom he had to clean after school every day awash in black ink.

...

Before his stunning upset victory over incumbent Nassau County Executive Thomas Suozzi, Mangano, 47, was a largely unknown figure, a nondescript Nassau County legislator who served his home area of Bethpage for 14 years. But while the low-key Republican politician exhibits little of the flash of some of his colleagues, friends and even political opponents paint a portrait of an extremely likeable, bright, down-to-earth figure who they expect will serve as a take-command "manager" of the sprawling county government.

I've cautioned against using the 2009 elections to predict the results of the 2010 elections. But, if there's an election that seems to portend a Republican wave in the midterms, it's this one. Republicans have to smile when voter angst over high taxes is dooming seemingly invincible Democrats in the suburbs. Suozzi was so confident in his victory that he left more than $2 million in campaign cash unspent.

That said, there are good reasons I've cautioned against using the 2009 elections to predict the 2010 ones. If Suozzi's defeat reminds me of one election, it's Indianapolis Mayor Bart Peterson's loss in 2007. Peterson was a Democratic star who scared off top Republican challengers. Shockingly, a little-known, underfunded Republican, Greg Ballard, beat him on the strength of anti-tax sentiment. Yet 2008 still was a tremendous year for Democrats in Indiana and across the country.

Josh Goodman
Josh Goodman  |  Former Staff Writer
mailbox@governing.com

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