The race for New York’s 4th Congressional District seat will be unlike races this year in most congressional districts around the country. That is, there is no surefire winner, and as things stand currently, the field is wide open to candidates from both major parities.
Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-Mineola), who was first elected to Congress in 1996, recently announced that she would not seek re-election this November, citing her health as a main reason for her retirement. McCarthy disclosed a lung cancer diagnosis in June last year.
So far, two Republicans have publicly announced that they will seek their party’s nomination to her seat: David Silverstein, a businessman from Merrick, and Frank Scaturro, an attorney from New Hyde Park. But several elected officials who enjoy much wider name recognition are being discussed in political circles in Nassau, Washington, D.C. and elsewhere as potential successors to McCarthy, and some of them have indicated that they are considering a run for the seat.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee polled likely Democratic primary voters in the 4th District to gauge the popularity of several potential Democratic candidates, according to sources familiar with the poll. Kathleen Rice, district attorney of Nassau County, led the poll with 46 percent of favorable responses. Dave Denenberg, a Nassau County legislator from Merrick, placed second in the poll at 21 percent; Kevan Abrahams, minority leader of the County Legislature, of Freeport, placed third at 10 percent, and 20 percent of respondents were undecided.
Rep. Steve Israel (D-Huntington), chairman of the DCCC, did not return a call for comment. Jay Jacobs, chairman of the Nassau County Democratic Committee, said he has spoken with several potential candidates and that the county’s Democratic leadership would work with the DCCC to solidify support behind one candidate in the coming weeks and months.