Adam Haber, a self-financed, field-tested former Nassau County executive candidate, couldn't make his way onto the North Hempstead Town Board as an appointee last week.
But Haber, who was defeated handily by former County Executive Thomas Suozzi in a Democratic primary last year, could end up seeking public office again -- this time as a candidate for the State Senate seat of Jack M. Martins (R-Mineola).
Jay Jacobs, Nassau's Democratic Party leader, said he is recruiting Haber aggressively for the State Senate run.
"He's talented, he's shown an ability to connect with voters and he has some very good ideas," Jacobs said Friday.
Earlier this month, Haber, an East Hills businessman and Roslyn school board member, was in the running for a vacancy on the North Hempstead Town Board. "I am very much in consideration and trying hard to get the appointment," he told Newsday.
Although Haber had Jacobs' support, North Hempstead Democrats had other ideas.
Last week, town political and elected officials bypassed Haber. Supervisor Judi Bosworth announced that she would recommend Peter Zuckerman, a real estate attorney, longtime East Hills Village Board member and fellow Democrat, for the vacancy.
Haber, while disappointed, said he was open to exploring a run for State Senate.
"After going through the county executive race and seeing that there is room for a progressive individual to do good things in the county, I'm giving it serious consideration," he said Friday.
Last year, Jacobs tried repeatedly to dissuade Haber from making a primary run against Suozzi. And the party complained about some of Haber's campaign advertising.
"I blame that on Adam's campaign advisers," Jacobs said. "I don't hold it against him."
Should Jacobs prevail in recruiting Haber, the race would be on for one of Long Island's increasing number of competitive Senate districts.
The 7th Senate District reaches up into North Hempstead, stretches west through Martins' territory in Mineola, over to Hicksville and dips into Elmont and North Valley Stream, where Haber campaigned aggressively for county executive.
"He's got money, he's got North Hempstead, he's got Andrew Cuomo at the head of the ticket," said Michael Dawidziak, a political consultant who works mostly for Republicans. "It could end up being a real fight for that district."
Such a matchup also would put more pressure on the Long Island Republican delegation, which already is eyeing fights in two other Senate districts.
In Nassau, longtime State Sen. Charles Fuschillo stepped down earlier last month. In Suffolk, Sen. Lee Zeldin has announced his intention to give up his seat at the end of the year to run against U.S. Rep. Tim Bishop (D-Southampton).
The Senate races are key to Long Island Republicans' chances of maintaining clout there. Senate co-leader Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre) could lose his leadership position if two or more Senate seats go to Democrats.
In addition to those fights, two other Long Island legislative races will be key -- for Democrats and Republicans vying for control of Congress. The Bishop race, along with the contest to replace Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, a Democrat who is retiring at the end of the year, likely will draw national attention.
"This could turn into one of those rare, and really fun, years as far as legislative races are concerned," Dawidziak said.