Republican Daniel Serota, mayor of Brookville Village and an official in his family’s development business, said he’s taking the first step toward running for retiring Rep. Steve Israel’s seat by forming an exploratory fundraising committee.
Serota said he has met with Republican Party leaders in the district, which spans Nassau, Suffolk and Queens. He said the fundraising committee will be established within then next 10 days, and that he expects the race to cost at least $1.5 million to $1.8 million.
Serota, 52, who has been village mayor and police commissioner since 2012, joins a half dozen Republican contenders. They include State Sen. Jack Martins, of Old Westbury, who is looking to give up his seat in the narrow GOP Senate majority to make the congressional run.
“I’m very good at solving problems. I reach out, talk to people and get things fixed,” said Serota, who described himself as a “fiscally conservative Republican.”
While Democrats have a 41,000 edge in voter enrollment, Serota said district residents would benefit by having a Republican in the majority. “It’s very frustrating to get things done when you’re in the minority,” he said.
Serota also said Martins should “definitely stay in the State Senate because Albany needs to have the Senate controlled by Republicans and Jack Martins is a very good senator.”
Serota, declined to say whether he would run a primary if he does not get the GOP nomination, saying “It remains to be seen what the party thinks about having a primary.”
E. O’Brien Murray, Martins’ campaign spokesman, said he was unaware of Serota’s interest in the race.
“Jack Martins is running for Congress,” said Murray. “He is confident he can win in November and he looks forward to uniting the party behind him.”
Serota is president and CEO of Serota Development LLC based in Valley Stream, an arm of the family’s real estate holdings which include residential developments, and 5 million square feet of commercial real estate, including office buildings and more than 50 shopping centers.
Also Wednesday, Democrat Laurie Scheinman dropped out of the race for her party’s nomination for Congress. “Now is not the time to pursue an elected office,” she said.
Suffolk County Legis. Steve Stern (D-Dix Hills) has hired four former Israel campaign staffers: Lisa Deutsch, Israel’s chief fundraiser for the past 20 years, Israel’s former campaign manager Isaac Goldberg and the congressman’s mail and media consultants. Goldberg ran Democrat Madeline Singas’ successful campaign fall for Nassau County district attorney last fall.
Israel said he is not yet endorsing anyone, but said he was “impressed Steve Stern quickly approached folks who have worked with me since my first days in Congress.”