Leading Nassau Democrats split in county executive race

Two leading Democrats in Nassau County are duking it over who should be the party's nominee for county executive.

Two leading Democrats in Nassau County are duking it over who should be the party's nominee for county executive. (4/19/17)

WOODBURY - Two leading Democrats in Nassau County are duking it over who should be the party’s nominee for county executive.

The county's party chairman, Jay Jacobs, is taking on its current comptroller and a candidate for county executive, George Maragos.

At issue is Maragos' recently switched party affiliation. As recently as September, he was a Republican. When he announced the switch, Jacobs stood beside him.

But then Jacobs endorsed Nassau Legislator Laura Curran for the county executive candidacy, which has led the two to split.

Maragos has repeatedly jabbed Jacobs and Curran while campaigning across the county.

"If you allow our politics to be dictated by the party bosses, they will put people in office that are completely beholden to them -- and to the special interests," Maragos said last month.

In response, Jacobs wrote an open letter, questioning the sincerity of Maragos' liberal turn.

"To have completely switched from his staunchly Tea Party-like conservative positions, to now be a self-professed progressive Democrat, would have to have been a seismic shift of epic proportions," Jacobs wrote. "A political earthquake, if you will."

The spat escalated when Maragos turned to Twitter, calling Jacobs "desperate." Then he claimed to have been offered the comptroller spot on the Democratic ticket if he would step aside from the executive race.

"The Democratic party, in my estimation, is a party of inclusiveness," Maragos later said, taking a more measured approach on the campaign trail. "I think we should all work together toward winning the general election in November."

State Assemblyman Charles Lavine is also running in the three-way primary for the Democratic nomination. 

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