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The National Republican Congressional Committee said Thursday that 4th District hopeful Bruce Blakeman has qualified for the first stage of its program that highlights and promotes priority candidates.
Blakeman, of Long Beach, a former presiding officer of the Nassau County Legislature, is running to succeed retiring Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-Mineola). He has the backing of the county GOP, Conservative and Independence parties, but faces a primary challenge from New Hyde Park attorney Frank Scaturro.
After raising $114,000 in the first quarter – and loaning himself $200,000 – Blakeman was added as an “On the Radar” candidate in the NRCC’s “Young Guns” recruitment program. The program gives “candidates and their campaigns the tools they need to run effective, successful and winning campaigns,” the committee said in a statement.
“On the Radar” candidates, according to the NRCC, must be running for competitive seats and have met “the minimum threshold in campaign organization and show potential to achieve greater status in the program as the cycle progresses.” Blakeman said this week that was satisfied with his first quarter fundraising, since he didn’t declare his candidacy until late February and still hasn’t held an actual fundraising event.
“I am confident that Bruce Blakeman will be a successful and dedicated member of this program and that he will continue to work hard to reach the crucial campaign benchmarks that have been established ahead of the 2014 elections,” said Rep.Greg Walden (R-Ore.), the NRCC chairman.
Blakeman’s first quarter fundraising was dwarfed by his potential Democratic opponent, Nassau District Attorney Kathleen Rice. She raised $1.47 million in less than three months, putting her on track to be one of the nation’s top-funded challengers this year. Like Blakeman, she has the backing of her party's national House committee.
Scaturro raised roughly $40,000 in the first quarter. His campaign announced Thursday that it had submitted double the petition signatures required to wage a write-in primary for the Conservative Party nomination. In 2012, Scaturro won the Conservative primary on a write-in campaign after similarly being denied party leaders’ endorsement.