By Rawson Jahan and Michael Kohut
For Nassau county Republicans, Ed Mangano’s alleged crimes cast a shadow on voting booths. His October 20 arrest came at an inopportune time for the county’s conservative lawmakers, but experts are divided on the impact the scandal will have on the November 8 general election.
Of Nassau county’s 19 legislators, 12 are Republican, 7 are Democratic.
“I think there’s something very serious that has to be looked into, definitely will have an effect on the upcoming elections in a few days,” Chad Lupinacci, New York state Assemblyman and part-time political professor at Hofstra, said.
Mangano, his wife Linda Mangano, and The Town of Oyster Bay Supervisor, John Venditto, were arraigned last week and accused of receiving bribes and kickbacks from a Long Islander restaurateur. Mangano’s wife was accused of receiving $450,000 at a “no-show job” at the restaurant owner’s business. In exchange, the businessman received guaranteed loans and official contracts that aided his business since June of 2010, according to an indictment document released by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in East District, New York.
New York State legislators and representatives have urged incumbents Mangano and Venditto to step down, because their arrest could hurt local politics and upcoming senate elections for the GOP. “I think this damages the Nassau Republican brand significantly,” Nassau Democratic chairman Jay Jacobs said in an interview with Newsday.”This is the result of a longstanding culture among these Republicans, who have always looked at government as their candy store.”
Allegations against the executive don’t guarantee a resignation, Leslie D. Feldman, a political science professor at Hofstra University, said. “His approval ratings are not going to be high, but he will not be forced to resign.” Feldman was a professor for both Mangano and Venditto’s children.
“[The arrest] might affect Nassau County but it certainly won’t affect the presidential elections,” Feldman said.
Voters might take a case by case approach when voting for Republican or Democratic nominees next week, ” Michael Dawdziak, a political consultant and opinions column writer at Newsday, said. “But I don’t think that the arrests will have any effect on the upcoming election, there’s too much time for him to be exonerated.”
Lupinacci is among local politicians whom agree that Mangano should resign.
“I do think when there’s this serious of a nature and you’re an executive in charge with a county with 1.3 million people, I think it would be in his best interest to resign and leave office,” he said.
As of today Mangano’s resignation is up in the air.
“Both of these men undermined the very system of laws they promised to uphold by furthering their personal interests rather than the best interests of their constituents,” Robert L. Capers, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, said.
After his arrest, Mangano released a statement to Nassau County. “I ask residents to have faith in my integrity and to put their full belief in the presumption of innocence, an innocence which will be established in open court.”
Venditto has gone back to work since the arrest and has been fulfilling general obligations.
“It is important to note that while he has been available to conduct any necessary Town business, he has continued to contemplate the events which occurred, and how they may impact his ability to continue on as Town Supervisor,” Marta Kane from The Town of Oyster Bay’s public information office, said.