A file photo of Mark and Michelle Schimel at a...

A file photo of Mark and Michelle Schimel at a polling place in Great Neck. (March 27, 2007) Credit: Dick Yarwood

Mark Schimel, who was nominated by the Republican Party to challenge his estranged wife, Assemb. Michelle Schimel (D-Great Neck), for her 16th Assembly District seat, has pulled out of the race.

"Since being nominated last Thursday, I have been inundated with calls from the media that focused on matters extraneous to the campaign and the issues facing our state," the GOP nominee wrote Monday night to North Hempstead Town GOP leader Frank Moroney.

"It is clear to me that any effort to have an honest debate about lowering property taxes, improving our economy and making elected officials more responsive to taxpayers will be impossible given the media's proclivity for sensationalizing the news. . . . Accordingly, I withdraw my request to run."

Schimel, 57, who has been estranged from his wife of 32 years for about a year, did not return calls for comment Tuesday. He is a vice president at Infosys International Inc. in Plainview.

Michelle Schimel, 54, on Monday accused the Republican Party of using her marital situation as "an opportunity to drag my personal life into the public." Tuesday, she said she had "nothing new to add."

But Moroney said it was "unfortunate that the Democrats attempted to turn this from a serious discussion of the issues into a frivolous distraction. . . . The real issue in the race was the 2 percent tax cap and the affordability of the taxes paid by the homeowners in the 16th Assembly District ."

Moroney added: "Look, everybody, including me, hopes that they come out of their divorce OK."

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan) said Tuesday: "I think Michelle Schimel has been a great member of the Assembly. . . . There are no issues that anybody is going to be able to run against her on."

Moroney said the GOP has at least two other potential candidates. "There will be another nominee," he said. With Yancey Roy

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