Nassau County Legis. Francis X. Becker Jr., of Lynbrook, and Frank Scaturro, a private practice lawyer from Hempstead who was raised in New Hyde Park, had faced off for the Republican and Conservative nominations in 2010. Each touts his ability to defeat McCarthy (D-Mineola), who took office in 1997.
"We need to change the way Washington does business," said Becker, who got 47 percent of the vote against McCarthy two years ago. "To do so we need to change the people we send to Washington."
Scaturro said Becker, who had the Republican and Conservative nominations in 2010, "had a chance two years ago and blew it. I'm the only one who can beat McCarthy."
An original member of the 15-year-old county legislature, Becker is from a family with strong political ties to the Village of Lynbrook and the surrounding area. His grandfather Frank was an area congressman, Becker's father was village mayor and a State Supreme Court justice, and his brother Gregory was a state Assemblyman who twice lost to McCarthy for the Washington seat.
A former GOP committeeman, local Elks lodge leader and youth football and lacrosse coach, Becker calls Scaturro, "a Johnny-come-lately who wants to start at the top without having paid any dues. He doesn't know the people or the communities."
"It's sad to see, but Carolyn McCarthy has evolved into an entrenched part of the problem in Washington and she's become a reliable rubber stamp for Washington's failed policies, including onerous regulations, health care mandates and massive deficit spending," Becker said.
"I know the pulse of our hamlets, villages, towns and county. Small business is our nation's backbone, and I'm a small-business owner."
Scaturro, 39, who is single, is an attorney at the Manhattan office of FisherBroyles, an Atlanta law firm. Scaturro previously was a visiting professor at the Hofstra University School of Law, a counsel to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee in Washington. He also worked for the National Park Service, where he worked to reverse neglect of Grant's Tomb in Manhattan.
In his 2010 bid, Scaturro unsuccessfully challenged the Conservative Party in court, charging that Nassau Republican leader Joseph Mondello called the shots for the Conservatives.
Scaturro is going up against the county Republican leadership, which is backing Becker. Scaturro says Mondello "wants nobody in office he can't control."
"That's a contemptible comment coming from someone who has aggressively sought the chairman's endorsement for the past three years," said Mondello spokesman Anthony Santino.
Scaturro said the nation "faces a crisis of confidence on a magnitude that we have not faced in a long time and in so many elements of our society, education . . . the economy . . . health care and how we conduct our foreign policy. The country has largely been on the wrong track. There is a lot of anxiety."
Under new boundaries drawn after the decennial census, the district includes the communities of Long Beach, Merrick, Wantagh, Garden City, Mineola, East Meadow, Uniondale, Freeport and Roosevelt. The district has 188,933 registered Democrats, 167,815 Republicans and 95,000 voters with no party affiliation.