Nassau Democrats expect primary for Weisenberg Assembly seat

Assemb. Harvey Weisenberg (D-Long Beach) on June 29, Assemb. Harvey Weisenberg (D-Long Beach) on June 29, 2012. Photo Credit: James Escher

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Nassau Democratic Party chairman Jay Jacobs said he expects a contested primary to succeed Assemb. Harvey Weisenberg, a Long Beach Democrat who announced Monday he would not run for re-election.

At least two candidates are interested in the seat: former Assistant U.S. Attorney Todd Kaminsky and Long Beach City Councilman Anthony Eramo.

County Legis. Denise Ford, a Democrat who caucuses with the Republicans, said she "is keeping her options open" but has not been approached about running. "I never say never, but we have a lot going on right now in my district," she said.

"There is a lot of interest in the seat," said Jacobs, who plans to select a candidate before the party's May 27 convention. "It's very early, but I assume there will be a primary."

The district, which covers Nassau's southwest corner, has 39,529 registered Democrats, 31,748 Republicans and 20,499 voters unaffiliated with a major political party, according to the state Board of Elections.

Kaminsky, 36, of Long Beach, who resigned Monday as acting deputy chief of the Public Integrity Section for the Eastern District of New York, said he is running.

"I have spent a lot of time investigating dirty politicians that undermine the public's faith in government," Kaminsky said. "I am going to put that same passion, skill and energy into the State Assembly."

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Kaminsky prosecuted former State Senate Majority Leader Pedro Espada Jr. (D-Bronx), who was sentenced in June to 5 years in prison for embezzlement, and former Assemb. Jimmy Meng (D-Queens), who was sentenced to a month in jail in March 2013 for wire fraud.

Kaminsky also was slated to be on the prosecution team against Rep. Michael Grimm (R-Staten Island), who was charged in U.S. District Court on Monday with tax evasion and hiring undocumented workers at his restaurant. Grimm pleaded not guilty.

Eramo, a Verizon field technician who was elected to the Long Beach City Council in November, said he is mulling a run for the Assembly seat and is getting support from unionized labor. He is a member of the Communications Workers of America.

Jacobs said that he "could not see Denise Ford winning a Democratic primary" for the seat but said it's possible she could seek a Wilson-Pakula designation allowing her to run on the Republican line. Ford said she has not given any thought to seeking the designation, and declined to respond to Jacobs' remarks. A Wilson-Pakula is an authorization by a political party for a candidate not registered with the party to run as its candidate.

The potential Republican field remains unclear.

David Sussman, a Lawrence urologist and president of the Lawrence school board who lost to Weisenberg in 2012, did not respond to requests for comment about whether he intends to run again.

Nassau GOP spokesman Tony Santino declined to discuss potential Republican candidates.

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