New York State Assemb. Charles Lavine (D-Glen Cove) dropped out of the race for Nassau County executive on Wednesday and threw his support behind the Democratic nominee, Nassau Legis. Laura Curran (D-Baldwin).

Lavine was one of two Democratic candidates that planned to challenge Curran to a primary in September. The other, Nassau County Comptroller George Maragos, who was a Republican until last fall, is staying in the race.

“I will not not enable a primary between Laura and me that will only serve to artificially enhance the power of the Nassau Republican Party,” Lavine told reporters during a news conference in Garden City.

The development comes shortly after the Nassau GOP nominated former state Sen. Jack Martins (R-Old Westbury) as their nominee to replace Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano, who said Wednesday that he has not yet decided whether he will seek a third term after pleading not guilty to federal corruption charges in October.

“I am honored and grateful to earn Chuck Lavine’s endorsement,” Curran said. “Chuck and I both know how great a place Nassau County is to live and raise a family—but we also know that our government is not living up to that greatness… Chuck and I know we can do so much better, and with him by my side on the campaign trail I know we’ll win this election and give Nassau County the fresh start we need.”

Maragos issued a statement criticizing the move.

“Charles Lavine dropping out of the Nassau County Executive race is characteristic of the back room dealing by the Party Boss to clear the field for his unqualified hand-picked candidate and deny the Democratic voters a choice,” Maragos said “My decision to stay in the race and fight to end the pervasive corruption, and patronage in Nassau County, remains unwavering.”

The primary will be held Sept. 12.

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