Nassau County Legislator Laura Curran soundly defeated her opponent, County Comptroller George Maragos, when the dust settled on Tuesday’s Democratic Primary for county executive.
Once all precincts were counted, Curran had defeated Maragos with 23,093 votes to his 6,265.
"Tonight sends a clear message that Nassau County is ready to chart a new path — that we are ready to put an end to the culture of corruption and make our government live up to the greatness of the people of this county," Curran said, after declaring victory. “There is a better future for Nassau County than what we've experienced these last eight years. We can end this pervasive culture of corruption. We can do away with the entrenched status quo. And, if we work together, we can give Nassau the fresh start it so sorely needs."
Maragos made a brief statement on Twitter late Tuesday night conceding to Curran and offering her his support in the general election.
“I called earlier and left [Curran] a congratulatory message on her resounding primary victory, and offered my full support,” Maragos said.
Both Curran and Maragos ran on stridently anti-corruption platforms while outgoing County Executive Ed Mangano fought federal charges of kickbacks and extortion, but name recognition was not enough to carry the eight-year comptroller, a former Republican, to victory.
Curran had the backing of the Nassau County Democratic Committee and numerous sitting and former elected officials, as well as labor groups, while Maragos touted himself and team of county clerk and comptroller candidates as “independent Democrats,” who enjoyed the support of many minority organizations.
Maragos ran alongside a team of “independent Democrats” — Carl DeHaney and Ama Yawson, running for county clerk and comptroller, respectively. His candidates were also defeated by the Democratic Committee-backed candidates — Jack Schnirman, the Long Beach city manager, who won the comptroller slot on the ballot, and Dean Bennett, who won the county clerk race.
Throughout the race, Curran hammered the message that Nassau County deserved “a fresh start,” and vowed to end a perceived culture of cronyism and corruption in Mineola. After declaring victory, she took a pre-emptive shot at State Sen. Jack Martins, the Republican nominee for county executive, calling him a “typical career politician.
“Nassau County taxpayers don't want any more of the machine's tried and failed status quo,” she said. “They don't want another typical career politician who's only going to fight for themselves and their cronies. And they certainly don't want someone who stared corruption in the face, and looked the other way. After tonight's resounding victory, we look forward to going on to victory in November."
Martins released a statement welcoming Curran to the general election, but noting what he called “historically low turnout” in the primary.
“This election is about the future of Nassau County, and electing someone with the experience and qualifications to deal with the challenges that face us,” said the former State Senator and mayor of Mineola. “Laura Curran wants to make this about the past, but we must look ahead … It seems the strategy of ‘looking back’ hasn’t excited Democratic voters, which doesn’t bode well for Democrats in the general election.”
According to the Board of Elections, 30,195 Democratic ballots were cast in Tuesday’s Primary, out of 396,254 registered in the party, as of April. That’s a roughly 8 percent turnout — slightly below numbers for the 2013 Democratic Primary between Tom Suozzi and Adam Haber.