Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi conceded the election today to GOP challenger Ed Mangano at a press conference in Mineola.
Suozzi informed the the room that he had already called Mangano to congratulate him. Not long ago a rising star in New York’s Democratic Party, Suozzi’s loss may put his political aspirations on ice for some time.
The race between the two came down to a recount of all machines and absentee ballots. As of Dec. 1, Mangano lead Suozzi by 386 votes. The result ends Suozzi’s eight-year run as County Executive. Mangano, who vacated his post as a Nassau County Legislator to run for executive, attacked the poor fiscal condition of Nassau in his campaign.
“People are angry about their property taxes, and they are holding their county executive accountable,” Suozzi said.
Nationwide, tax-weary voters went to the polls and voted against incumbents. Suozzi joined legislators Dave Mejias and Jeff Toback and Comptroller Howard Weitzman in losing this election. The uproar at the polls caught many pundits and candidates by surprise. Weitzman conceded Dec. 1 as well, sending his best wishes to challenger George Maragos.
“Nobody saw this coming,” Suozzi contended at a press conference a day after elections officials completed a recanvass of all ballots that gave Republican Edward Mangano a 377-vote lead out of nearly a quarter-million votes cast. A month ago on Election Night, Suozzi led his challenger by a few hundred votes.
“Anybody that tells you, ‘Oh, this was going to happen,’ they’re not telling the truth.”
“I’m sad that leaving office this way, having the lost the race, but I’m very, very proud of what we accomplsihed,” Suozzi said of his time in office.
Suozzi, 47, who lost to Eliot Spitzer in a 2006 gubernatorial primary, has worked for years to establish himself as a player in statewide politics. In 2004, he formed FixAlbany.com, a group dedicated to easing the property tax burden on homeowners. The former mayor of Glen Cove ended what had been decades of Republican domination of the executive’s seat when he was elected in 2001.
Earlier this year, Suozzi was mentioned as a possible successor when Hillary Rodham Clinton resigned her Senate seat to become secretary of state. Although the job eventually went to upstate congresswoman Kirsten Gillibrand, Suozzi has done little to hide his ambitions.
He agreed that he and his supporters may have been looking past this election, but said poor turnout and voter dissatisfaction were greater factors.
“I think it’s no secret that I would like to run for higher office,” Suozzi said. “But whenever I conducted polls or talked to political professionals about this, the voters actually expect that of elected officials. They want you to reach for higher office.”
Suozzi ended his concession speech to a standing ovation from well-wishers and supporters.
With Frank Eltman, The Associated Press