Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice, who is running for Congress to replace Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, picked up a key endorsement at a church breakfast Monday morning from her June 24 Democratic primary opponent, Kevan Abrahams, the Nassau County Legislature’s Democratic Minority Leader.
She will face Bruce Blakeman, a Republican, who had been the Nassau County Legislature’s Presiding Officer from 1996 to 1999.
In the June primary for the 4th Congressional District, Rice had beaten Abrahams by almost 1,500 votes or 12 percentage points, while Blakeman defeated Frank Scaturro by 4,000 votes or 31 points. In November’s general election, Rice will be on the Working Families Party line, and Blakeman will also have the Conservative and Independence Party lines.
According to recent campaign filings, Rice has $800,000 more on hand than Blakeman, with about $1.4 million compared to Blakeman’s $610,000.
Rep. McCarthy is stepping down after serving nine terms representing a Nassau Congressional district where registered Democrats outnumber registered Republicans, 206,000 to 171,000 respectively, and 135,000 voters belong to a minor party or have no party affiliation.
Abrahams and Rice appeared together in Uniondale at a monthly breakfast for local clergy.
“I’m pleased to join Kathleen today and offer her my full support in her campaign to be the next congresswoman,” said Abrahams in a press statement. “Although we were opponents in the past, what matters now is that we have come together as allies focused on keeping this seat in progressive Democratic hands. I have the utmost respect for the work Kathleen has done for our community as district attorney, and I have no doubt that she will continue to fight for us in Washington. I’m excited to join her team as we prepare to take on the extremism of the Tea Party and Bruce Blakeman.”
“Kevan’s a truly talented and dedicated community leader and I’m honored to have his support,” said Rice in a statement. “While we may have at one time been political opponents, there is far more that unites Kevan and me than divides us. I look forward to hitting the campaign trail with him at my side, and I can’t wait to work with Kevan in Washington as we fight to create more economic opportunity for our neighborhoods being left out of the nation’s financial recovery.”
Asked to comment on the endorsement news, Blakeman said he felt fortunate the way it turned out.
“I like Kevan Abrahams very much,” Blakeman told the Press. “I’m lucky I’m not running against him because my campaign people thought he was the stronger candidate.”
He pointed out that his victory margin in the primary was more than Rice’s.
“She just squeaked by,” Blakeman said. “Kathleen’s in trouble and she’s grasping for straws. Basically she knows that the vast majority of the people in the Fourth Congressional District want a change.”
Blakeman said he has a “fundamental difference” on policy with both Abrahams and Rice because, unlike those two Democrats, he believes that “faith-based organizations, the synagogues and churches” of the district “do a better job of delivering services to the community than government…I’m looking forward to having a serious debate on that issue.”