4th CD: Rice picks up endorsements of onetime contenders

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Malverne Village Mayor Patricia Norris-McDonald, who had mulled running for Congress in the 4th district, is now endorsing the campaign of Nassau District Attorney Kathleen Rice.

Norris-McDonald, a Democrat, announced her backing Tuesday in a statement released by Rice’s campaign. She called Rice, a Garden City Democrat, “exactly the type of tough, smart leader we need fighting for us in Washington.

“No one will work harder to tackle illegal guns and to build support for common-sense legislation that will save lives in our communities,” Norris-McDonald said.

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In late January – shortly after longtime 4th District Rep. Carolyn McCarthy said she wouldn’t seek reelection – Norris-McDonald interviewed with the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee as a potential successor. Her back story has some parallels with McCarthy’s: both became vocal gun control advocates after their spouses were victims of gun violence.

In 1993, gunman Colin Ferguson killed six people, including McCarthy's husband, Dennis, aboard a Hicksville-bound Long Island Rail Road train. Her son was also among many people wounded.

Steven McDonald was an NYPD officer on patrol in Central Park in 1986 when he was shot three times by 15-year-old Shavod Jones, a suspect in several bicycle thefts. The shooting left McDonald a quadriplegic.

Norris-McDonald said in January that she was “flattered” to be considered by the DCCC for the seat McCarthy (D-Mineola) has held since 1997. But the committee, led by Rep. Steve Israel (D-Huntington), got behind Rice soon after.

Rice’s campaign also announced that another Democrat who briefly mulled a 4th District run had given her endorsement. Laura Gillen, a Rockville Centre resident who ran for Nassau County clerk last year, said that Rice is “the perfect blend of pioneer and pragmatist, and she's going to be a forceful advocate for our communities in Washington.”

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Rice will face County Legislative Minority Leader Kevan Abrahams, of Freeport, in the June 24 Democratic primary. She said that Norris-McDonald and Gillen would be “integral parts of our campaign to keep this seat in the hands of someone who cares about the middle class and who cares about growing jobs, raising the minimum wage, and helping small businesses in our district’s communities.”

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