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Nassau Legis. David Denenberg (D-Merrick) came close Thursday to saying he will run for the state senate seat vacated by Merrick Republican Charles Fuschillo, but stopped short of committing to the race.
“I’m thinking strongly about it,” Denenberg said in an interview. “I’m leaning towards running. I would think I would make an announcement within the next two weeks.”
With District Attorney Kathleen Rice, a Democrat, announcing Wednesday that she will run for the Congressional seat being vacated by Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-Mineola), Denenberg said he is focusing his attention on the open senate seat, which runs across Nassau’s South Shore into Suffolk.
Denenberg, who also had been considering a Congressional run, said Rice called to advise him of her decision.
“I wished her luck. I’m not going to primary her,” Denenberg said. “I’ve been meeting with friends, family, supporters, looking toward how I can best serve my constituents and a broader constituency.”
He said the current issues in Albany “are so meaningful to the South Shore; New York Rising, Sandy recovery, school taxes, property taxes, economic growth and job opportunities. I think I could make a great impact fighting for my South Shore constituency right now.”
Denenberg was adamant on one issue: “I would have never voted for that MTA tax.”
Democrats held the Senate majority in 2010 when Long Island Democratic Senators Brian Foley and Craig Johnson voted in favor of the controversial MTA payroll tax being pushed by city Democrats. The two lost their re-election bids and Republicans resumed control of the Senate.
Denenberg angered Nassau Democratic chairman Jay Jacobs in the past by refusing to vote to increase county legislative salaries and for joining with Republicans to put a proposed Coliseum redevelopment plan before voters, who subsequently rejected it. He recently voted with the Republican legislative majority to borrow the full $720 million cost of repairing the flooded Bay Park Sewage Treatment Plant while his fellow Democrats opted to proceed in steps.
Denenberg in 2008 had proposed a new $150 environmental bond act for Nassau that would have included the cost of building an ocean outfall pipe for Bay Park — a plan now being considered — but Republican legislators then said sewer upgrades should be considered public works projects paid from capital funds.
Political insiders say the most likely Republican candidate for Fuschillo’s vacated seat is Nassau Legis. Michael Venditto (R-Massapequa) because he is seen as being able to rally Oyster Bay Republican troops for his campaign. Venditto’s father is longtime Oyster Bay supervisor John Venditto.