At about 10 minutes before 11 p.m. on Election Night, Nassau Republican Party Chairman Joseph Mondello made an announcement:
“I thought you might be interested to know that we just won the county Legislature.”
The crowd at Mirelle’s Restaurant in Westbury erupted in applause as Mondello raised the arms of Republican Howard Kopel, the challenger to Democratic Legis. Jeffrey Toback, and Joe Belesi, the Republican challenger to Democratic Legis. David Mejias, in victory.
The news was reinforced about a half hour later as Mondello again announced that his party had wrestled control of what had been a one-vote Democratic majority into Republican hands.
“This is a night to remember,” Mondello told the charged audience. “We’ve been waiting for this for a long time.”
Pandemonium ensued as the packed restaurant, next door to Republican Committee headquarters, exploded in cheers and applause and a parade of Republicans marched onto the stage to thank supporters—and especially Mondello.
“It’s great to be a Republican in Nassau County tonight,” boomed the new Nassau Legislature Majority Leader Peter Schmitt, with a smile.
“This year they said it was an impossible task,” said the victorious Legis. John Ciotti.
“What a night!” shouted Town of Hempstead Supervisor Kate Murray, also a winner.
As of this post, Mondello said the heated race for county executive was too close to call.
“Keep the faith,” Mangano told the crowd. “We’re gonna win this.”