SYOSSET - Nassau Democrats and Republicans have named their picks to face off in a special election to fill the vacant legislative seat left behind when county Legislator Judy Jacobs died.
Jacobs, of Woodbury, is the only legislator to have served in her eastern Nassau district.
The Democrats have nominated Arnie Drucker, of Plainview. He has never run for office before, but says he would try to carry on Jacobs' legacy.
"The level of corruption and scandal and cronyism that has infected this county and this Town of Oyster Bay is unprecedented," Drucker says. "The taxpayers deserve to have elected officials who are honest and accountable and will rid this place of this problem."
Louis Imbroto, also of Plainview, is the Republican nominee. He unsuccessfully ran against Jacobs for the seat in 2013.
The district has around 9,000 more registered Democrats than Republicans, but Imbroto says he is confident his message transcends party lines.
He lists his flagship issues as reducing property taxes and increasing public safety.
An Imbroto victory would give the GOP a supermajority in the Legislature. Newsday political reporter Paul LaRocco says that could have a major impact on the county's finances.
"That would give them the opportunity to approve borrowing without any votes from Democrats," LaRocco says. "The Democrats in recent months have held up numerous borrowing measures."
Drucker says that's why this seat must remain in Democratic hands.
"How could you allow this type of corruption, this type of unchecked financial mismanagement to go on?" he asks. "It has to stop."
But Imbroto says a Republican win will benefit the district.
"I think it’s important to have a Republican in there to deliver for the district, bring back money to pave roads, make sure the district gets it what it deserves from Mineola," Imbroto says.
The winner will serve the remaining year of Jacobs' term before facing another election in 2017.