News, views and commentary on Long Island, state and national politics.
House hopeful Bruce Blakeman has been elevated to the final stage of the National Republican Congressional Committee’s program to support priority candidates in open-seat and other competitive races.
The NRCC announced Thursday that Blakeman, the former presiding officer of the Nassau County Legislature, was now a “Young Gun,” in its “Young Guns” program – after advancing from “On-the-Radar” and “Contender” status earlier this year.
“Bruce has outlined conservative principles that will grow jobs, stop the harmful effects of ObamaCare, and get Washington’s spending under control,” said Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.), the NRCC chairman. “Bruce has met a series of rigorous goals that will put him in a position to win on Election Day.”
Blakeman, of Long Beach, is facing Democratic Nassau District Attorney Kathleen Rice, of Garden City, in the 4th District race to succeed retiring Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-Mineola).
On its website, the NRCC says of “Young Gun” candidates: “These candidates have met a series of rigorous goals and surpassed program benchmarks to establish a clear path to victory. Young Gun candidates represent the most competitive congressional seats in the 2014 election cycle.”
Blakeman has loaned himself $700,000 so far this campaign, and as of the end of June, had $610,138 on hand. Rice had $1.4 million.
The 4th District, which covers southern and central Nassau County, has about 206,000 registered Democrats, 171,000 Republicans and 135,000 voters belonging to either a minor party or no party, according to the state board of elections. McCarthy has served nine terms.
While one national handicapper recently called the 4th District “safe” to remain Democratic, the NRCC’s designation shows that it believes it is in play. The NRCC has also given the same “Young Guns” designation to State Sen. Lee Zeldin, who is running for the 1st District seat held by Rep. Tim Bishop (D-Southampton).
In all, there are about 35 GOP candidates across the country who are part of the program.