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Republicans are zeroing in on Christopher McGrath, a private attorney and former head of the Nassau County Bar Association, as their candidate in the race to replace ex-Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, multiple sources said Thursday.
McGrath is a Hewlett resident whose law firm, Sullivan, Papain, Block, McGrath and Cannavo, is based in Garden City. One advantage Republicans see in him is that he would come into the race with no ties to politics, several said. The Nassau GOP executive committee was slated to meet Thursday night where it was “likely” it would choose McGrath though nothing had been finalized, one source said.
The GOP had discussed six other potential candidates: Assemb. Brian Curran (R-Lynbrook), Hempstead Town Councilman Bruce Blakeman, Legis. Denise Ford of Long Beach and Legis. Howard Kopel of Lawrence, Hewlett GOP president Jim Vilardi and Malverne Mayor Patricia McDonald.
Democrats already have endorsed Assemb. Todd Kaminsky (D-Long Beach).
Both parties are expecting a special election to replace Skelos to be set by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo for April 19, the same day as New York’s presidential primaries. The governor hasn’t officially set a date but could do so as early as this weekend.
Skelos was the state’s most powerful Republican until he and his son were indicted last spring on corruption charges. A jury found them guilty in January of bribery, extortion and conspiracy, a verdict that automatically expelled him from the Senate.