Well, that didn’t take long.
Former Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi and the man who unseated him four years ago, Ed Mangano, traded barbs Thursday as the two rivals officially kicked off the 2013 race for county executive.
Suozzi, fresh off his Democratic primary victory Tuesday, held a press conference at the party’s campaign headquarters in East Meadow where he characterized Republican Mangano as a “compulsive borrower” who has mismanaged the county’s finances since taking office in 2009 and has driven Nassau’s debt to historic heights.
“The Mangano administration has not cut spending, in fact it increased spending dramatically,” Suozzi blasted.
“We are gonna cut up his credit card because that’s what you need to do with compulsive borrowers,” Suozzi added before sticking to his promise (sort of) by taking a pair of scissors to a fake Mangano credit card.
Mangano’s administration was quick to respond with familiar attacks about the former county executive’s record of raising taxes.
“Tom Suozzi is a compulsive liar and serial tax hiker,” Brian Nevin, Mangano’s chief spokesman shot back in a statement.
“Suozzi hiked Nassau’s debt by $402 million while Ed Mangano reduced debt by millions,” he continued. “Tom Suozzi lied when he claimed he wouldn’t raise our taxes…..Suozzi raised property taxes by 23 percent, put a new tax on electricity, natural gas, home heating oil and EVEN tried to place a tax on Food and a toll on the LIE.”
Suozzi, the Nassau County Executive from 2002-2009, claimed that Mangano increased the county’s long-term debt by $566 million, pushing it to its current figure of $3.5 billion. The previous high, he said, was $3.2 billion in 2001 under Republican County Executive Tom Gulotta.
Mangano’s campaign said the county executive actually decreased total debt by $2.4 million from the end of 2009 to 2012.
“Taxpayers couldn’t trust Tom Suozzi then, and they surely can’t trust him now,” Nevin added.
Suozzi laid out a range of other concerns regarding the county, including a trimmer Nassau County Police Department, the deterioration of Nassau’s quality of life and its roads and residents still suffering from Superstorm Sandy.
Suozzi, apparently re-energized since his ouster, said he’s excited for the next two months and reaffirmed his commitment to Nassau residents if he wins.
“I will serve my entire four-year term. I’m not running for any other higher office, I’ve been there I’ve done that,” he said, referencing his failed gubernational bid in 2006.
Mangano defeated Suozzi by 386 votes in 2009.
Voters will decide who wins the rematch on Nov. 5.