Republican Bruce Blackman declared victory in the Nassau County Executive Race early Wednesday, but incumbent Democrat Laura Curran did not concede.
“I won’t wait until I take office to work,” Blackman told Newsday in an interview. “I will put together a team and fix the broken revaluation system and make proposals to further reduce fees and taxes and restore law and order to the streets of Nassau County.”
In a conversation with reporters, Blackman said, “I want to congratulate Laura Curran for her service to the county and now it’s time to judge and deliver on our promises to fix the broken rating system.”
In a statement released early Wednesday, Curran noted that there were “several thousand absentee ballots still to be counted – with more arriving. This is not over and we must trust the process.”
Curran continued, “Each of the Nassau residents who took part in this election owe their voice to the opportunity to be heard. I have faith in Nassau County and the good work we’ve done over the past four years. Nassau residents have taught a master class in resilience, and I have a lot to spare.”
Curran, 53, is seeking a second term against Blackman, 66, of Atlantic Beach, a Hempstead City Council member.
By 1 a.m., 100% of the precincts had been counted.
Republicans voted in higher numbers than Democrats across Nassau on Tuesday, according to Election Board statistics.
Of the 22,3147 voters who turned out on Tuesday, 96,787 registered Republicans, 76,385 Democrats and 39,208 unregistered voters in either party, according to Board Democratic Commissioner James Sherman.
As of Monday, the Nassau Board of Elections received 19,895 absentee votes out of 38,348 applications.
Of the absentee ballots returned, 11,341 were registered Democrats, 5,575 were Republicans and 2,407 were voters without party affiliation.
Mail-stamped absentee ballots no later than Tuesday can continue to arrive by mail in counties.
The Nassau County executive race was the first among the dozens of town, city, county and judicial elections held Tuesday.
In addition to the borough contests, Nassau and Suffolk counties attorney’s seats have risen, as have the Suffolk mayor and Nassau clerk and observer contests.
Curran is a former Baldwin School Board member and Nassau County legislator who was elected as the county executive in 2017.
Blackman served as Hempstead Township Deputy Superintendent under former Democrat Laura Gillen. He also served as commissioner of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
Curran’s program to revalue more than 385,000 residential properties, beginning in the 2020-21 tax year, has been a major problem in the county executives’ race.
It was the first real estate value update since 2011, when then county executive Edward Mangano, a Republican, froze tax rolls while trying to determine how often homes should be valued. The freeze lasted eight tax years.
Curran said her management, by updating valuations, has produced an accurate tax listing and a fair property appraisal system.
Blackman said the county produced a flawed listing and caused taxes to rise for many homeowners.
During the campaign, Curran has mainly emphasized her record of promoting public safety, the county’s high coronavirus vaccination rate and successive budget surpluses.
Curran issued rules to strengthen the county’s code of ethics. One executive order prohibited county employees from accepting gifts from sellers, including holiday baskets.
She oversaw efforts to revitalize the Hub, a 72-acre property surrounding the Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale.
It implemented a program to send $375 checks to many county homeowners using $100 million in federal pandemic aid.
Blackman criticized Curran’s cash assistance program as tantamount to sending “peanuts” to the highly taxed Nassau residents.
In recent days, Blakeman’s campaign has appealed to conservative voters on his Facebook page, expressing support for FDNY workers who have protested against the vaccine mandate in New York City.
Jay Jacobs, chair of the Nassau and state democracy committees, suggested Tuesday night that issues including tax and crime helped motivate voters this year.
“This is always a big issue here in the suburbs,” he said.
Jacobs also referred to the 2009 election, when Mangano ousted Democratic District Executive Thomas Suzzi, of Glenn Cove, now representing the third congressional district.
Citing the mood of Democratic President Barack Obama’s first year in office, Jacobs described current electoral trends as “reminiscent of what happened in 2009.”
In other county-level races, Nassau County clerk Maureen O’Connell, a Republican, defeated Democratic contender Justin Brown.
In the race for Nassau County’s comptroller, Elaine Phillips, a former Republican senator and mayor of Flower Hill, beat Democratic attorney Ryan Cronin, a former member of the Nassau Healthcare Corporation’s board of directors.
Democrat Jack Schneerman did not seek a second term.
With John Asprey and Matthew Chase