Democrat Adam Haber will step down next month as a member of the Nassau Interim Finance Authority, a state monitoring board in control of the county’s finances, as he launches a second bid for the State Senate seat held by Jack Martins.
Martins (R-Old Westbury) is vacating his 7th Senate District seat to run for the congressional seat held by retiring Rep. Steve Israel (D-Huntington).
Haber, an East Hills businessman, previously said he would stay on the NIFA board as he explored a Senate run. But campaign officials said Saturday that once Haber formally announced his run and began raising money he decided to step down.
Haber will resign the post after the next NIFA meeting, scheduled for an undetermined date in March, but plans to keep his spot on the Roslyn Board of Education.
“I am grateful for the opportunity to serve on NIFA, and it has given me the opportunity to see first-hand that Long Island needs real leadership in Albany,” Haber said in a statement. “For too long Albany has allowed corruption to fester, and that has only led to skyrocketing taxes, wasting of valuable resources and jobs leaving our communities. I intend to bring a fresh perspective to the State Senate to help clean up Albany and improve the lives of all Nassau County residents.”
A former Wall Street trader, Haber lost a Democratic primary for Nassau County executive in 2013 and in 2014 lost to Martins in his first bid for the Senate by a 56-44 margin.
But Democrats contend Haber will perform better during a presidential election year and after improving his name recognition while on NIFA.
“Adam has a keen understanding of the difficulties Nassau County residents face with their tax burden and has good ideas how to get them under control,” said Sen. Mike Gianaris (D-Queens), chairman of the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee. “And through his tenure on the NIFA board he has become an advocate against corruption both in Albany and in Nassau County.”
Haber has more than $70,000 available in his 2014 Senate campaign account and has shown a willingness in the past to self-finance campaigns. Gianaris said the race will be “fully funded” but declined to say how much Haber would personally invest in the race.
A GOP source last month said Nassau Legis. Laura Schaefer (R-Westbury) was eyeing the seat. A spokesman for the Nassau County Republican Committee declined to comment on potential candidates.
Senate Republican spokesman Scott Reif said Haber “has absolutely no rationale for running, other than he is bored and looking for something to do. We are confident that the same voters who already rejected his candidacy for the State Senate two years ago and turned him away when he ran for county executive will do the same this time. Nassau County taxpayers and their families just don’t want Adam Haber.”
Democrats outnumber Republicans in the 7th Senate District 88,457 to 67,278, with 56,338 voters unaffiliated with a major political party, according to State Board of Elections records.
In July, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo appointed Haber to the NIFA board at the recommendation of State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie (D-Bronx). Haber’s term on the NIFA board was not scheduled to expire until the end of 2017.
Haber’s expected departure will leave two seats vacant on the seven-member NIFA board. Jon Kaiman stepped down as chairman last week as he launched a Democratic campaign for Israel’s House seat.
The board needs four members for a quorum but according to its bylaws cannot hold a meeting until Cuomo appoints a new chairman.
A Cuomo spokeswoman did not respond to a request for comment on appointments to the board.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story misstated the number of members the Nassau Interim Finance Authority needs for a quorum.