Both candidates in the Nassau County executive race brought out their big guns this week.
Former President Bill Clinton endorsed Tom Suozzi as the Democrat runs for his old job and former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani backed Ed Mangano, the Republican Nassau County executive who unseated Suozzi four years ago.
“Tom Suozzi is the only candidate with the theory and the vision on how to revive Nassau’s economy and how to make this a ‘future’ place once again,” Clinton told party faithful Wednesday during a $150-per-plate fundraiser at Leonard’s of Great Neck. Taking a jab at Mangano, Clinton said: “You can’t lead to a better tomorrow when your entire platform is ‘vote for me because of what I didn’t do!’”
The following day, Giuliani, who grew up in Garden City and North Bellmore, threw his weight behind Mangano during a news conference outside the Morrelly Homeland Security Center in Bethpage.
“As someone who participated in turning around New York City, I am a great admirer of the way in which Ed Mangano has turned around Nassau County,” Giuliani said, touting that Mangano hasn’t raised county property taxes since taking office. “When he took over four years ago…this county was in pretty darn bad shape and he’s moved it absolutely in every respect in the other direction.”
The backings came the same week that The New York Times and Newsday editorial boards endorsed Suozzi, who worked for Newsday’s parent company, Cablevision, after losing his bid for a third term in 2009.
Union endorsements, which are coveted for their ability to rally members, have proven complicated during the rematch.
Mangano has touted the endorsements of the Nassau County Fire Marshals Benevolent Association and Court Officers Benevolent Association of Nassau County, while Nassau County Sheriff’s Correction Officers Benevolent Association and Nassau County Sheriff’s Correction Officers Benevolent Association endorsed Suozzi.
The Civil Service Employees Association Nassau Local 830, the Nassau Detectives Association Inc. and the Superior Officers Association of Nassau County have reportedly declined to endorse either candidate amid ongoing contract negotiations while the Nassau Police Benevolent Association hasn’t said if it will make an endorsement.
Suozzi was lagging behind Mangano by 17 points in a recent Sienna College poll.
-With Timothy Bolger