Senate Democrats are pressing their advantage after Republican Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano and Oyster Bay town supervisor John Venditto were arrested by federal law enforcement on bribery and kickback charges.
Democrats had already sought to run competitive races in Nassau County Senate districts, including an open seat being vacated by incumbent GOP lawmaker Jack Martins as well as seats held by Carl Marcellino and Kemp Hannon.
Four of the Democrats running in Long Island races — Jim Gaughran, Ryan Cronin, Adam Haber and John Brooks — released statements blasting the corruption scandal and alleged kickback scheme that has also engulfed Mangano’s wife.
At the same time, Venditto is the father of Republican Sen. Michael Venditto, though he occupies what is considered a safe seat in the chamber and has not been charged in the case.
Gaughran, in particular, has sought to make the financial issues surrounding Oyster Bay a major theme of his campaign against Marcellino.
“This is a sad day, and an urgent reminder that we need to address public corruption and pass meaningful ethics reforms. All elected officials should be judged on what they have done to fight corruption, and my opponent, Carl Marcellino, has consistently enabled and supported Ed Mangano and John Venditto,” Gaughran said.
“Senator Marcellino’s longtime support of these two corrupt officials – both of whom should resign immediately – means he can’t be relied upon to bring the reform and change we so desperately need. As State Senator, I will fight to clean up Albany and root out corrupt officials on the state, county and local level.”
Long Island occupies some political importance for Republicans, given the power they held with the original “Long Island 9” bloc of GOP lawmakers, which was upended when Democratic Sen. Todd Kaminsky won the special election to fill the seat formerly held by Dean Skelos, the majority leader ousted after a corruption charge he is appealing.
“These politicians have spent years empowering Ed Mangano and John Venditto and protecting them as they abused their offices to line their pockets,” said Senate Democratic spokesman Mike Murphy.
“Let’s be clear, the Nassau Republican Machine has done enormous damage to the residents, businesses and taxpayers of Long Island, and they are all to blame for the continued corruption festering on the Island. From supporting Dean Skelos to propping up Ed Mangano and John Venditto, every elected officials within the Nassau Republican establishment shares in the blame for the corruption and dysfunction which have plagued our communities for decades. These corruption enablers standing up now is not only laughable but offensive. It’s is easy to feign outrage after the fact but let’s be clear they are part of this Nassau Republican Criminal Enterprise.”
Updated: Senate GOP spokesman Scott Reif responds.
“Senator Martins, Senator Hannon and Senator Marcellino and the Republican candidates who are running there have already called on the County Executive and Town Supervisor to resign. We have absolutely no tolerance for corruption of any kind, regardless of whether it is committed by a Democrat or Republican.
It’s important to note that the Senate Democrats were the subject of a very serious criminal referral and remain under investigation for an illegal scheme they hatched with Mayor de Blasio to circumvent the state’s campaign finance limits and steal the elections in 2014.”