Mark Schimel, 57, a vice president at Infosys International Inc. in Plainview, could be challenging his wife, who was first elected in 2007.
"This is a very painful and personal family matter. The Republican Party is . . . using it as an opportunity to drag my personal life into the public," Michelle Schimel, 54, said in a statement. "I will run this campaign as I have every campaign: on the issues, on my record, and on my values."
Mark Schimel, who did not return calls, came to party leaders around March to express his wish to run, said Frank Moroney, North Hempstead Town GOP leader. Schimel was nominated Thursday and still must file nominating petitions.
"We talked about it a couple of times, and he is serious. We've told him that we want a dignified and issue-oriented campaign," Moroney said. He said he has been trying to get in touch with Mark Schimel but believes he is out of state.
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan) said, "Campaigns should be run on issues, and I think she's great on issues and if all they [Republicans] can do is some personal gimmick, they're in sad shape."
Lawrence Levy, executive director of Hofstra University's National Center for Suburban Studies, called it "sad when someone uses the political system to settle a personal score with an estranged spouse, and the Republican Party ought to do what it can to stop it."
Asked about the likelihood that Schimel will pursue his candidacy, Moroney said, "I don't know what his attitude will be when this is all over and it's on everyone's TV tonight and in every newspaper tomorrow. We'll see how he feels."
With Dan Janison
and Ted Phillips