Republican Bruce Blakeman launched his campaign to succeed retiring Rep. Carolyn McCarthy Thursday, attacking President Barack Obama and House Democrats on the economy and the health care law, while making no real mention of his potential opponents.
"This administration and Democrats in Congress have not paid attention to what's important to the people," Blakeman, the Nassau County Legislature's former presiding officer, said to a crowd of supporters outside Ancona Pizzeria in his native Valley Stream. "They have not paid attention to the economy, they have not concentrated on creating jobs and they've instituted a health care plan that is a failure."
Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford) endorsed his candidacy, but predicted a "rough" campaign to succeed McCarthy (D-Mineola): "I know of no one more qualified to run in this district than Bruce Blakeman."
The National Republican Congressional Committee first wooed Hempstead Town Supervisor Kate Murray for the 4th District, but King said that was because "people didn't think Bruce was going to run." King said the committee is now "very interested" in Blakeman.
Blakeman, 58, of Long Beach, has run unsuccessfully for state comptroller and U.S. Senate.
He faces a possible Republican primary against at least one candidate, New Hyde Park attorney Frank Scaturro. Of that chance, Blakeman said, "I don't take anything for granted."
On the Democratic side, Nassau District Attorney Kathleen Rice is running and Kevan Abrahams, minority leader of the Nassau Legislature, is fundraising as he explores a bid.
"I like both Kathleen and Kevan personally," Blakeman said in a later interview. "I just think they have bad ideas."
Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee spokesman Marc Brumer responded by calling Blakeman a "career politician," adding: "No one in their right mind wants to run under the toxic banner of the reckless Republican Congress, so they've turned to Bruce Blakeman."