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Tuesday, September 16, 2014
4th Congressional District primaries near:
A look at the battle for McCarthy’s seat
Kevan Abrahams

Electoral upsets happen every so often in Nassau County. There was Republican Dan Frisa beating his party’s incumbent, David Levy, in 1994. Like Levy, Frisa became a one-term congressman after a challenger, Democrat Carolyn McCarthy, unseated him in 1996. In 2005, a 31-year district attorney finally met his match in Democrat Kathleen Rice, the first woman to hold the office in the county’s history. And many Nassau Democrats are still reeling after the 2009 victory of Ed Mangano, a Republican, over their standard-bearer, Tom Suozzi, in the county executive’s race.

Could it happen again in 2014?

The political wisdom says that Rice will likely outmuscle her opponent in the 4th Congressional District’s Democratic primary on June 24, as will Bruce Blakeman, a former presiding officer of the County Legislature, in the Republican primary that day. Yet Lawrence Levy, executive dean of the National Center for Suburban Studies at Hofstra University, said there are “scenarios that are short of political science fiction” in which Rice’s opponent — Kevan Abrahams, the County Legislature’s minority leader — or Blakeman’s — Frank Scaturro, a New Hyde Park attorney — could win.

However, “everything would have to go right for [Abrahams and Scaturro], and almost everything would have to go wrong for [Rice and Blakeman],” Levy said.

Democratic primary

Rice has been the presumptive frontrunner to replace Carolyn McCarthy, who is not seeking another term, since she declared her candidacy in late January, with McCarthy’s endorsement and that of national Democrats. McCarthy has kept the seat in the Democratic column for 18 years, and registered Democrats now outnumber registered Republicans in the 4th District by about 30,000. Most important, Rice has the greatest name recognition of anyone in the field, and she cruised to countywide re-election as district attorney by 18 percentage points two and a half months earlier. But as other Democratic contenders withered away, Abrahams forged ahead, holding fundraisers, making campaign stops and sharply criticizing Rice in the press.

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