Rice, Blakeman win 4th District primaries

Congressional candidate Kathleen Rice waves to supporters after Congressional candidate Kathleen Rice waves to supporters after winning her primary on election night at Pier 95 restaurant in Freeport on the evening of June 24, 2014. Photo Credit: Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara

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Nassau District Attorney Kathleen Rice defeated County Legislative Minority Leader Kevan Abrahams Tuesday night in their high-profile Democratic primary to succeed Rep. Carolyn McCarthy in the county's 4th Congressional District.

With 100 percent of precincts counted, Rice held a 56 percent to 44 percent lead in a race that featured Nassau's top Democratic officeholders -- and prompted County Democratic chairman Jay Jacobs to stay neutral.

In the 4th District GOP primary, former County Legislature Presiding Officer Bruce Blakeman defeated attorney Frank Scaturro, who was making his third run for the seat McCarthy has held since 1997.

"I am the eternal optimist," Rice said in declaring victory to supporters at Pier 95 restaurant in Freeport. "I believe that if we elect more pragmatic problem solvers like me we can begin to chip away at the problems in Washington."

Abrahams, who raised $162,132 to Rice's $2.1 million, told supporters shortly after midnight he was not conceding because all votes had not been counted.

Earlier Tuesday night, he had said, "I wouldn't do anything different.

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"The voters were engaged." he had said in Mineola. "We were out there talking to voters, giving that last minute push."

With 100 percent of precincts reporting in the GOP primary, Blakeman led Scaturro by 65 percent to 34 percent.

Both races were marked by "very low" turnout, according to the Nassau Board of Elections -- less than 10 percent.

The 4th Congressional District is the only of the five on Long Island that's solely in Nassau. It covers 110 square miles across the central-southern part of the county, from Westbury to Long Beach and from Woodmere to Wantagh.

The 4th has 205,698 registered Democrats, 171,404 Republicans and about 135,000 voters unaffiliated with either major party, according to the county Board of Elections.

Rice, 49, of Garden City, had the backing of McCarthy, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and numerous labor unions.

During the campaign, she highlighted her nine-year record as district attorney, saying she aggressively pursued DWI offenders and launched educational initiatives to reduce Internet crimes and prescription drug abuse.

Abrahams, 39, of Freeport, had endorsements from several local elected officials. He often cited his legislative work as his best qualification for Congress.

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He noted that he worked with Republicans on superstorm Sandy recovery and redevelopment projects, while supporting anti-violence efforts such as ShotSpotter.

Rice also outspent Abrahams $638,245 to $112,135 through June 4, according to Federal Election Commission filings.

Blakeman, 58, of Long Beach, was backed by the Nassau Republican Party. He previously lost bids for state comptroller and U.S. Senate, but said he represented his party's best chance to defeat the Democratic nominee and reclaim McCarthy's seat for the GOP.

Scaturro, 41, of New Hyde Park, has been Counsel for the Constitution for the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee and has taught constitutional law at Hofstra Law School.

He campaigned on simplifying the federal tax code and reducing the national debt while calling himself an underdog fighting the powerful Nassau GOP party.

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Blakeman outraised Scaturro $403,426 to $197,932 through June. Blakeman had spent $160,270 to Scaturro's $128,532.

With Laura Figueroa and Robert Brodsky

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