Kathleen RiceNassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice officially announced Wednesday that she will run for the congressional seat held for nearly two decades by retiring Rep. Carolyn McCarthy.

Rice, a Democrat, in a statement to the Press, said she’s running because Washington D.C. needs more independent thinkers, and vowed to address gun violence, an issue that McCarthy fought tirelessly for during her tenure.

“I’ve spent my career combating gun violence and advocating for families and communities in need,” Rice, 48, said. “As someone who comes from a family of immigrants, I know what it means to have access to the American Dream. I’m running because we need more independent problem solvers in Congress who share these values and who care about people, not partisan politics.”

McCarthy, 70, who has suffered through a long battle with lung cancer, announced earlier this month that she won’t be seeking re-election when her term ends at the end of the year.

Rumors of Rice’s interest in McCarthy’s seat had been swirling for months.

Rice’s team officially debuted her “Kathleen Rice for Congress” website on Thursday and used Twitter to get her message out through social media in a series of Tweets with the hashtag #ThatsWhyImRunning:




Rice is fresh off an 18-point victory over her Republican challenger in the Nassau County District Attorney race this past November. She was first elected in 2005.

Rice sought higher office in 2010 when she ran for New York State Attorney General, but lost a close race to eventual winner Eric Schneiderman by less than 20,000 votes.

Town of Hempstead Supervisor Kate Murray, a Republican, who has been rumored as a possible challenger, released a statement Friday saying she will not be running for Congress.

Other Nassau County Democrats, Legis. Kevan Abrahams (D-Freeport), minority leader of the Legislature, and Legis. Dave Denenberg (D-Merrick) have also reportedly shown interest in McCarthy’s seat.

Rice appears to have the backing of top Democrats. But her relationship with Nassau County Democratic Chairman Jay Jacobs cooled after Rice’s decision in December not to seek criminal charges against former Nassau County Police Commissioner Thomas Dale for his involvement in a politically-motivated arrest he ordered at the behest of a Nassau County Executive candidate’s sole political donor. Dale was forced to resign.

“Carolyn’s successor will have big shoes to fill,” Rep. Steve Israel (D-Huntington), also the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said after McCarthy announced retirement. “We are confident that the people of this strongly Democratic seat will choose a replacement who will follow Carolyn’s tradition of putting middle class families first and fighting for the safety of our schools and neighborhoods.”