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ALBANY - State Sen. Jack Martins (R-Old Westbury) abruptly canceled an Albany fund-raiser this week, fueling speculation that he’s more than just considering running for Congress, according to state legislators and lobbyists who arrived at the event only to learn of its demise.
Martins, Assemb. Chad Lupinacci (R-Huntington Station) and David Gurfein are the three Republicans who immediately formed congressional campaign committees after U.S. Rep. Steve Israel (D-Huntington) announced he would step down at the end of the year. More than a dozen names have been mentioned as potential candidates.
Martins was expected to face pressure from Senate Republicans not to make the leap because his Nassau County Senate seat is key to their holding the majority in the chamber. But his cancellation of the fund-raiser at the Fort Orange Club, a block away from the State Capitol, told would-be attendees Martins is ready to run for Congress.
“What more of a signal do you need?” said one who showed up, only to be turned away. He noted that candidates can’t commingle money raised for state and federal offices and that Martins withdrew the Albany event because “he doesn’t want to hit up the same donors twice” if and when he formally begins a congressional campaign.
Martins is returning all the money from those who bought tickets to the fund-raiser in advance, an aide said.