Frank Scaturro bucks party in maverick House run

Congressional candidate Frank Scaturro poses for a portrait

Congressional candidate Frank Scaturro poses for a portrait in Garden City Monday. (June 25, 2012) Photo by Barry Sloan (Credit: Barry Sloan)

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Legal scholar Frank Scaturro, a Republican, is trying Frank Scaturro

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Republican attorney Frank Scaturro has feuded with his own party's leaders and filed a lawsuit against Conservative Party officials.

Ultimately, 259 write-in votes were enough to secure him a spot on the November ballot as the Conservative Party candidate against Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-Mineola).

Nassau Republicans are backing County Legis. Francis X. Becker of Lynbrook, and have pressed Scaturro to drop out of the race.

GOP leaders fear Scaturro's candidacy threatens to siphon Republican votes, to the benefit of incumbent McCarthy.

Scaturro, a registered Republican, has refused to fold his Conservative Party campaign, saying he presents an alternative to longtime politicians.

"I believe we are at an important crossroads that really requires our public servants to stand up and have an honest dialogue, which we're not getting from our incumbent elected officials," said Scaturro, 40, of Hempstead.

Scaturro said that if elected he would push to reduce the size of government, repeal the Obama administration's health care overhaul and cut corporate tax rates. His supporters include Republican Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma and the Brightwaters-based Conservative Society for Action.

A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania School of Law, Scaturro taught constitutional law at Hofstra University and once served as a legal aide to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

"I would come into the job with an awareness and strong background in our Constitution," Scaturro said. "Too often lawmakers will say, 'The courts will deal with it.' You can't do that."

Born in Brooklyn, Scaturro grew up in New Hyde Park. He graduated from Chaminade High School in Mineola, where his father worked as a maintenance supervisor. His mother was a secretary for various law firms.

While majoring in history and political science at Columbia University, Scaturro got a taste of the district in 1993 as an intern for Rep. David Levy, a Republican who served one term.

In 1991, as a National Park Service volunteer, Scaturro founded the Grant Monument Association, a nonprofit that oversaw a $1.8 million restoration of the General Grant National Memorial on Manhattan's West Side. He remains president of the association.

On the campaign trail, Scaturro, who has never held elected office, paints his opponents as beholden to party leaders.

"Carolyn McCarthy has been a virtual rubber stamp for Nancy Pelosi," Scaturro said, referring to the House minority leader, a California Democrat. "Mr. Becker has just been a rubber stamp for the Nassau political bosses. None have demonstrated leadership."

McCarthy said: "The people in this district know me . . . and know I will be there for them."

Becker said that if Scaturro "truly felt and truly believed in conservative principles, he wouldn't be running." He said "a vote for Frank Scaturro is a vote for Carolyn McCarthy."

Scaturro, who lost to Becker in the 2010 and 2012 Republican congressional primaries for the seat, staged an upset when he collected enough Conservative party write-in votes to get on the November ballot.

Scaturro ran a write-in campaign after Conservatives gave their nod to Becker.

Scaturro has publicly criticized Nassau GOP leaders, saying they never gave him a fair chance to be the party's pick because he was not "beholden to the party bosses."

Nassau GOP spokesman Tony Santino has said "Scaturro is more about his own monumental ego and ambition than about retiring" McCarthy.

Scaturro counters that his willingness "to stand up to the bosses in my own party" demonstrates his ability to answer only to his constituents.

"I'm willing to buck them and stand up for what's right," Scaturro said of party officials. "We need more people who are willing to take a risk and ask the tough questions."

Editor's note: A story on Tuesday about Fourth Congressional District candidate Frank Scaturro misattributed the final quote of the story.

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