One day after Nassau County voters handed Madeline Singas a decisive victory in the spirited district attorney race, she said she felt “humbled” by the support from residents in her first successful election campaign.
Singas, who has served as acting DA since January, attributed her success to her campaign’s message of prosecutorial experience resonating with voters, whom she said “rejected the notion of a political person, a political being, taking over an office that should remain steadfastly apolitical.”
Singas acknowledged that she was the underdog in the race to the more seasoned political operator Kate Murray, but the results tell a different story, one that shocked political observers. She defeated Murray, the Hempstead Town Supervisor who chose to run for DA instead of defending her town seat, by a wide margin, 58 to 42 percent. The two contestants were separated by more than 32,000 votes, according to unofficial election results.
“They (voters) wanted the best qualified person to do the job,” Singas told the Press in a phone interview. “And I always really ran this race on the fact that I was a professional and lifelong prosecutor, and that’s what I was bringing to the table.”
“People weren’t viewing this through partisan glasses,” she added, “they wanted the best qualified person to do the job.”
Singas declared victory shortly after 11 p.m. Tuesday. Murray did not concede until after midnight.
“I had a very good feeling leading up to Election Day,” she said, “just because I was out there so much and people were approaching me…and just saying how grateful they were to sort of have me in the race and have the experience and just how eager they were to vote for me.
“Look, I’ve never been a candidate before,” she continued, “so for me it was something interesting anyway. But I just felt a lot of support out in every community that I went to and it translated into big votes and big numbers. I was very humbled by that.”
Singas took over for her predecessor, Kathleen Rice, in January following Rice’s election to Congress. It was Rice who recruited Singas to the DA’s office. Singas eventually built up the Special Victim’s Bureau and was later named Rice’s chief assistant. They worked shoulder to shoulder, Singas said, adding that she was also running on her former boss’s legacy.
As she looks forward to the next four years, Singas plans to continue policies dedicated to heroin prevention, such as educating school personnel and parents. She wants to aggressively investigate where the supply is and “choke” it off, while also going after the organizations saturating Nassau with the addictive drug. Her goal is to bolster resources into treatment and provide assistance to people fighting the addiction.
“Ultimately,” she said, “if we don’t control the demand we’re not going to be able to control the supply, so that’s a crucial part of the equation.”
Singas also reiterated her plan to expand her offices investigation into Nassau’s contract process into the county’s towns and cities, “so we can get a more global picture of what’s going on and make recommendations and figure out if there are other investigations that we need to be pursuing.”
“But again,” she added, “I feel that Nassau taxpayers are entitled to know how their money is meted out, who it’s going to, what are the qualifications for the people that are getting these contracts, and if people were giving the contracts for reasons other than efficiency or for the public good. And [if] they broke laws, then they will be held accountable.”
Singas declined to say whether or not subpoenas have been issued.
And as for the major police unions, including the Nassau Police Benevolent Association, who backed Murray, Singas noted that it’s not in her personality to hold grudges.
“That’s not who I am and that’s not what my position is,” she said. “I always said that the rank-and-file officers supported me because right after those endorsements came out I got numerous phone calls and messages and people stopping me in the street telling me how much they support me and how much they respect my experience, and I think that was demonstrated again with the big numbers in the vote.”