Rick Brand Portrait of Newsday reporter Rick Brand taken on

Rick Brand is a longtime Newsday reporter who writes about politics and government on Long Island.

Suffolk County Legis. Steve Stern, a Democratic candidate in the 3rd Congressional District, has rolled out new endorsements from Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone and Huntington Town Supervisor Frank Petrone.

Bellone, a Democrat and Babylon resident who does not live in the 3rd District, called Stern “the right choice” to succeed retiring Rep. Steve Israel (D-Huntington).

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Bellone said Stern, of Dix Hills, has “represented his community with distinction,” helping homeless veterans and standing firmly for abortion rights and funding for Planned Parenthood.

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Petrone said Stern “will break through the gridlock” in Washington and “stand up to Tea Party extremists.”

Another candidate in the Democratic primary to succeed Israel, former Nassau County Executive Thomas Suozzi, said Tuesday that his nominating “petitions are good.” Suozzi called the challenge to his petitions by former ally and now primary foe Jon Kaiman, a former North Hempstead Town supervisor, a “sad attempt to distract voters from the real issues facing our district.”

Suozzi’s campaign issued the statement Tuesday after reviewing Kaiman’s challenge to more than 1,200 of the 2,417 signatures that Suozzi filed last week to qualify for the June 28 Democratic primary for Israel’s seat.

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Also running in the Democratic primary are attorney Jonathan Clarke of Jericho and North Hempstead Town Board member Anna Kaplan.