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Long IslandColumnistsDan Janison

Marco Rubio holds LI endorsements before New York primary

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) is seen in Huntsville,

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) is seen in Huntsville, Ala., on Saturday, Feb. 27, 2016. Credit: Getty Images / Scott Olson

Polls make Sen. Marco Rubio a clear underdog in this state’s GOP primary April 19, provided the Floridian makes it that far. But Rubio does have the makings of a New York operation, with endorsements so far from more than 30 party figures.

In Rubio’s camp ahead of the April 19 contest are Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford), who’d talked about running for president, and former Gov. George Pataki, who actually tried.

Others backing Rubio as he seeks to thwart the billionaire front-runner, Donald Trump, include state Sen. Phil Boyle (R-Bay Shore) and Suffolk GOP Assembs. Chad Lupinacci, Dean Murray, Anthony Palumbo and Andrew Raia.

Last week a Newsday/News 12/Siena College survey showed Trump at 49 percent among Republicans on Long Island with Rubio and Ohio Gov. John Kasich at 12 percent each.

“We have the most endorsements in the state,” said Assemb. Nicole Malliotakis (R-Staten Island), who chairs the state Rubio campaign. “We’re starting to build a large ground operation of volunteers. It’s going to be very competitive here in New York in April.”

“Along with many of my colleagues and co-chairs, I believe Marco best represents the party, and is best positioned to win in November, which is obviously the most important thing,” she said. “It’s important that we are wise when we select who will be the face of the Republican Party.”

Several Conservative and Republican party officials from the city also endorse Rubio along with Rockland County Executive Ed Day.

Trump’s New York effort is led by Buffalo businessman Carl Paladino, who lost the 2010 governor’s race to Andrew M. Cuomo.

LA VIDA LONG BEACH: Despite distance from the Nassau Democratic organization, members of the Independent Democratic Club of Long Beach give every signal they’re alive and well.

On Sunday night, the club held a fundraiser honoring City Council President Len Torres, council Vice President Anthony Eramo and Councilwoman Anissa D. Moore.

The event at the Bridgeview in Island Park was supported by Michael Zapson, formerly of the county committee, who clashed with county chairman Jay Jacobs. This Independent club is separate from the now-Jacobs-aligned Long Beach Democratic Club, hosting a March 20 dinner to feature Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, chairwoman of the National Democratic Committee.

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