Maragos debuts 1st primary campaign ad

Noah Manskar
Nassau County Comptroller George Maragos is seen in Blank Slate Media's office on Thursday, April 27, 2017. (Photo by Noah Manskar)

George Maragos launched his first TV ad last week in his Democratic primary campaign for Nassau County executive.

The commercial attacks county Legislator Laura Curran, his primary opponent, as lacking answers to the county’s problems and touts the second-term comptroller as the one to solve them. Maragos published the ad on YouTube last Thursday night after telling Blank Slate Media it would go on air last Friday.

Maragos, who is funding his own campaign, would not say how much he is spending on the ad, but said he is making a “significant buy” on cable stations.

The ad is the first that any Democratic candidate for county executive has run. It started airing fewer than three weeks before primary voters go to the polls Sept. 12.

The video uses a clip of Curran from a May 2015 interview with James Carver, then the president of the Nassau Police Benevolent Association. “If you’re in charge of it, how do you fix Nassau County?” Carver asks.

“I wish I knew the answer,” Curran replies.

The ad’s narrator asks if Curran is “the person to fix the mess,” then says Maragos “knows how to lower property taxes, build affordable housing [and] improve public transit” — though it cites no evidence of Maragos doing any of those things.

The ad buy indicates Maragos is ramping up his campaign against Curran — who is backed by the Nassau County Democratic Committee — after a quiet month during which he spent little money, according to his most recent campaign finance disclosure.

“I want value for my money, and I spend it well,” Maragos said.

Maragos has most frequently used social media and in-person appearances to promote his campaign, while the bulk of his spending since January has gone to consulting services. Curran has spent more than twice as much as Maragos since January, campaign finance records show.

Maragos, twice elected comptroller as a Republican, switched parties last fall and has since waged an outsider campaign against Curran and the Nassau Democratic Party.

A Curran spokesman, Philip Shulman, pointed to Maragos’ past conservative statements for which Democrats have criticized him.

What this ad won’t tell you and what no amount of money can hide is that George Maragos is an anti-choice, climate change denying Tea Party Republican who was Ed Mangano’s two-time running-mate and repeatedly called for the repeal of the Affordable Care Act while accusing President Obama of taking us down the road to socialism,” Shulman said in a statement.

Maragos has said his political views have evolved and now align with Democratic Party values.

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