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The 3rd Congressional District race between incumbent Steve Israel (D-Huntington) and Republican Mineola attorney Grant Lally can start in earnest now that GOP candidate Stephen Labate has withdrawn from the race.
On Monday, Labate a Deer Park financial planner, who lost to Lally by 11 votes in the June 24 primary, announced he was withdrawing from the race, and dropping previously announced plans to seek a recount in the tight race.
“Despite a razor thin margin of 11 votes, I have decided not to pursue a recount,” Labate said in a news release. “A prolonged legal battle would be damaging to the Republican Party and would only benefit Congressman Steve Israel.”
Lally, who received 3,439 votes to Labate's 3,428 in the district that spans much of Nassau and Suffolk’s North Shore and Northeast Queens, said he is “excited to have the opportunity to run against” Israel who he called “Barack Obama’s chief campaign operative.”
“I would like to thank Stephen Labate for his good wishes. He ran a spirited campaign and I wish him and his family well,” Lally said in a statement.“It is time to unite the Republican Party along with the Conservative Party and move forward to defeat Obama’s [Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee] campaign operative, Steve Israel.”
In an e-mailed statement to Newsday, Israel said: “I'd like to congratulate Mr. Lally on his Republican Primary victory, and I look forward to a campaign that will outline stark contrasts. While I've spent my career fighting for Middle Class families, Mr. Lally has spent his career opposing choice, undermining Medicare, and weakening Social Security.”
Lally said Israel’s statements were “without any substance.”
The district is comprised of 192,720 registered Democrats and 152,366 Republicans, according to the most recent State Board of Elections enrollment statistics. There are also 20,139 voters registered under the Independence Party line; 6,441 Conservatives; 1,204 Working Families Party voters; 749 Green Party voters; 188 registered as “Other” and 125,451 who voters who are unaffiliated to any party.