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Belesi Wins Nassau Legislature Seat

More than one month after Election Day, the winner of District 14 has been declared.

Republican incumbent Joseph Belesi has been officially re-elected to the 14th district seat of the Nassau County Legislature after a month-long counting of absentee ballots and machine audit.

A judge certified his win over Democratic challenger Eva Pearson on Monday. The final vote tally was not immediately available from the Board of Elections, but Belesi said he was told he won by 107 votes, which gives Republicans a 10-9 majority in the legislature.

"It's a win for the people of Nassau County," Belesi said on Monday. "It was a difficult month and a difficult campaign with many personal attacks, but I tried to stay above it all and plan to continue to do what I've doing, working to control the tax situation."

Since Election Day, when Belesi topped Pearson by just 51 votes and the race was declared too close to call, the Board of Elections called back all the voting machines and suitcases and then inventoried absentee and affidavit ballots by legislative district. There were 522 absentee ballots and 32 affidavit ballots, the hand signed ballots for District 14.

Absentee ballots were accepted until Nov. 15 as long as they were postmarked by Nov. 7. After all the absentee ballots Belesi was ahead by 85 votes for the seat.

There were 114 ballots challenged during the counting that a judge had to rule on before a winner could be named, but according to Board of Elections Chief Clerk Bonnie Garone, all ballot challenges were resolved outside of court.

The mandatory canvas of three percent of the county's voting machines passed the audit, Garone added.

"The next couple of months our work will be to cut while making sure we don't give up services to the county," Belesi said. "We must keep working to correct this. We live in the highest taxed county in the highest taxed state in the country and people have had it. They can't afford it anymore."

Pearson called her the race an "extraordinary experience" and says she hopes to remain active in the community.

"I wish Legislator Belesi and the people of the 14th Legislative District the best of luck as we move forward during these troubling times in Nassau County, " she said.

The outcome of this race had the potential to shift party control in the legislature for the next term. After Election Day, Republicans took an 11-8 majority, with slim leads in the inconclusive 14th and 18th district races.

In District 18, Democratic Glen Cove City Councilwoman Delia DeRiggi-Whitton ultimately beat Republican opponent Rob Germino and on election night Democrat Carrie Solages edged out eight-term Legis. John Ciotti, R-Valley Stream.

Belesi is a retired Nassau County Police Department supervisor who has represented the 14th Legislative District since 2009. The 14th district covers parts of North Massapequa, East Massapequa, Seaford, North Wantagh, Levittown, Old Bethpage, Bethpage, Plainedge, Farmingdale and South Farmingdale.

Michael Collins February 16, 2012 at 10:05 PM
Yes he did ! Turncoat that he is.
Merrick7 February 16, 2012 at 10:34 PM
Belesi is not a turncoat he is a former police officer and resident and deserves the respect of his constituents and county residents. He has a knowledgeable background and should be listened to. He may differ on opinion in police matters from the unions but still deserves respect as all officers of the law do.
Tony February 16, 2012 at 11:05 PM
Ya I hear ya...His salary was not affected during his term in the PD or his pension or was it, or is he out on disability I don’t know, maybe he will fill us in on it, and now he supports Pay freezes and consolidation? Does the saying don’t throw stones in glass houses come in to play here? The whole County is on a self-destruct course and we the tax payer will pay in the end. Did anyone get fired over the 7 million dollar lawsuit that the taxpayers have to pay because of the non-police protection suit just settled? No I’m sure we will just move forward to the next lawsuit. Support the cuts and lawsuits will prevail. We the taxpayer will pay. Even If Mangano and his team do not raise taxes and we move forward, we will still be lacking the funds to maintain our County. Raise taxes already and let’s move on. Our Home values are the lowest they ever been and this County is falling apart piece by piece.
Sal February 16, 2012 at 11:21 PM
Merrick7 I ask again what has he actually done for his constituents? He tows the party line, doesn't fight for our share of state aid available, he touts his tax record which he did nothing but agree with the party line, now he leaves his public partially unprotected. Give us a break and do your job!! P.S. Please no more photo ops with everything and everybody unless you earned the distinction of helping them!!
John Rennhack February 17, 2012 at 08:32 AM
Sorry Merrick7, but respect is EARNED. Belesi has not earned respect as a county legislator. Belesi is a puppet of Schmitt and wouldn't utter a single independent thought. Never has, never will.

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