The primary election for the Democratic nomination for the 5th Congressional District will feature familiar faces on the ballot as U.S. Rep. Gregory Meeks seeks re-election against Joseph Marthone. The primary vote will be held on June 24.
Meeks, 60, was elected to the House of Representative during the Clinton administration in 1998 and represented the former 6th District until last year. In 2012, congressional redistricting caused Meeks to seek the nomination in the new 5th District, consisting of southeastern Queens and parts of southwestern Nassau County. The Nassau portion of the 5th District includes parts of Valley Stream, Elmont, North Woodmere and Inwood.
For the first time in his tenure as a congressman, Meeks represented Nassau residents. Prior to redistricting, his constituents were solely from Queens. Meeks said that there was no difference in representing people in Nassau and that, for him, it’s about working together as a delegation.
“The issues we deal with federally affect everyone,” he said. “The main difference is meeting local officials.”
During the last primary in June 2012, Meeks ran against Marthone, former New York City Councilman Allan Jennings and Mike Scala. He won the nod with more than 66 percent of the vote. Marthone, who finished last of the four, received 9.5 percent.
Marthone, 53, is undeterred by the results of the last primary, and said that the one-on-one nature of this race is more favorable to him. That, coupled with voters being more aware of a June primary, has Marthone confident of his chances of winning the nomination.
“When you have people thinking about a September primary, it affects potential voter turnout [of] who would have wanted to oust the incumbent,” Marthone said, regarding the change of the primary election from September to June in 2012. “It increases the possibility of us getting those votes.”
Marthone, an accountant, said that his professional experience and financial background enables him to see things differently than others, making him a good candidate for the House of Representatives.