Independence Party switches endorsements
The rule that no two elections are ever the same seems to hold especially true for the wild-card Independence Party.
But this year, the Independence Party has switched support to McCarthy, even as Becker seeks the seat again.
This follows a change in party leadership. Rick Bellando, who replaced Bobby Kumar as the party's Nassau chairman last year, said he's a longtime fan of McCarthy.
Becker, having had the Independence nod in the past, said he was "stunned" he didn't get a screening interview, which Bellando said he requested too late. For now Becker -- favored by the Republican and Conservative organizations -- is preparing for a GOP primary contest against lawyer Frank Scaturro, who has been gathering petition signatures seeking a rematch of their 2010 faceoff.
The Independence line has shifted in a Suffolk race too -- with roles oddly reversed. This year, Republican businessman Randy Altschuler has the Independence nod against Rep. Tim Bishop (D-Southampton) -- whose 7,370 Independence votes last time were key to his narrow defeat of Altschuler.
With some in the Independence camp still backing Bishop, state and Suffolk Independence chairman Frank MacKay defended the Altschuler move, saying the party seeks candidates "who have achieved success outside of politics, proven leaders who can transform government."
Notably, that congressional contest is one of four statewide where the Independence Party now supports the Republican after backing a Democrat a year and a half ago. GOP Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks has the Independence line against the minor party's 2010 candidate, Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-Rochester). Same goes for Rep. Michael Grimm (R-Staten Island), who unseated the 2010 Independence candidate, Democrat Michael McMahon, and Rep. Chris Gibson (R-Kinderhook), who beat the Independence-preferred Rep. Scott Murphy (D-Glens Falls).
As MacKay notes, the party also is again backing for Congress:Matt Doheny and Rep. Richard Hanna (R-Barneveld), two upstate GOP businessmen. Locally, Reps. Peter King (R-Seaford) and Steve Israel (D-Dix Hills) retained the Independence line.