Lavine drops out, endorses Curran for Nassau county executive

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GARDEN CITY -

State Assemblyman Charles Lavine dropped out of the Democratic primary race for Nassau County executive Wednesday.

During a news conference in Garden City, Lavine endorsed Legislator Laura Curran, who earned the backing of party leadership earlier this year. 

"I will not enable a primary between Laura and me that will only serve to artificially enhance the power of the Nassau Republican Party," he said.

But Lavine's endorsement of Curran doesn't mean she'll escape a primary race entirely. County Comptroller George Maragos, a former Republican, is running as a Democrat as well.

Maragos criticized Lavine's departure from the race as "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."

But Jay Jacobs, chairman of the Nassau County Democratic Committee, is arguing that the party stands a better chance by uniting now than it would after a drawn-out primary campaign.

"I don't underestimate the Republican machine in Nassau County," Jacobs said. "They're very strong. They've been doing this a long time. So coming together gives us our best chance in November."

And Curran echoed that sentiment.

"United, we'll win," she said.

Nassau Republicans formally nominated former state Sen. Jack Martins last week. Incumbent Republican Ed Mangano has not said whether he will seek re-election. He is currently facing federal corruption charges.

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