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Democrat Kaminsky, Republican Donnelly Locked In Fierce Battle In Open Nassau County District Attorney Race

MINEOLA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- With Election Day less than three weeks away, one race is getting a lot of attention on Long Island, and it's not at the top of the ticket.

It's the race for Nassau County district attorney.

The seat became vacant after the former DA was tapped to be a state appeals judge. But CBS2's Carolyn Gusoff reported Thursday, there's more on the ballot than just prosecutors.

READ MOREElection Day Guide For Voters In New York

In a community dubbed the safest in America, there is a battle over who can keep it safe.

Todd Kaminsky, a Democratic state senator who championed Superstorm Sandy and 9/11 victims, is a former federal prosecutor who never lost a case. He's now aiming to be Nassau's DA.

"I have prosecuted corrupt Democrats and Republicans at the highest level," Kaminsky said.

It's a rare opening with no incumbent, thanks to Madeline Singas becoming a judge.

A career prosecutor in the office wants the job. Republican candidate Anne Donnelly held leadership posts in financial crime, public corruption and rackets for 32 years.

"I've done it all. I was a violent felonies prosecutor for 12 years. I've seen it all. I know what the office needs," Donnelly said.

Also on the ballot, it seems, is New York's controversial bail reform. Donnelly claims Kaminsky wrote the law, dubbing him "Turn 'em loose Todd Kaminsky."

"It's completely false. I was not the author of the bail reform law," Kaminsky said.

"It hurts our society when a criminal gets released and goes out and commits the same crime again," Donnelly said.

Kaminsky didn't even co-sponsor the bill, adding his role, "was to provide the law enforcement perspective and push back on a lot of what they were doing, and I know that my involvement made the law more reasonable."

He said he fought his own party, adding bail back in 25 crimes, including home burglaries, and he said lying should disqualify a candidate.

"I don't think any attorney should be dishonest," Kaminsky said.

"I have never lied to anyone in my life. He certainly voted for it and he certainly supported it," Donnelly said.

It's an unusually bitter race for DA, in a county where major crime is down.

"Republicans have clearly put bail reform on the ballot. It's a complicated issue. There is not a lot of data to support the charges against the proponents of bail reform, but polling shows it's an issue that voters are paying attention to," Hofstra University suburban studies expert Lawrence Levy said.

Levy said there is also an X-factor that has nothing to do with either candidate. In years past, local elections have been heavily influenced by how voters perceive the current occupant of the White House.

The winner of the election will serve out the remainder of Singas' term, which expires in 2023.

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