The Nassau Democratic Committee has unanimously selected Assemb. Todd Kaminsky of Long Beach, a former federal prosecutor, to run for the Senate seat vacated last month when Dean Skelos was convicted of bribery, extortion and conspiracy charges.
Nassau Democratic Party Chairman Jay Jacobs cited Kaminsky’s experience and background to run in an election expected to focus on government corruption.
“Todd has spent his entire life committed to cleaning up the system and prosecuting those who perpetrate crime,” Jacobs said.
Nassau Democrats screened four candidates Tuesday night: Kaminsky; Nassau Legis. Carrié Solages (D-Elmont); Laura Gillen, who ran unsuccessfully for Nassau County Clerk in 2013; and Village of Valley Stream Trustee Vincent Grasso.
Kaminsky is the former acting deputy chief of the Public Integrity Section for the Eastern District of New York. He prosecuted former Senate Majority Leader Pedro Espada Jr. (D-Bronx), who was sentenced in June to 5 years in prison for embezzlement, and former Assemb. Jimmy Meng (D-Queens), who was sentenced to a month in jail in March 2013 for wire fraud.
Kaminsky was elected to the Assembly in 2014 to replace Harvey Weisenberg, who retired.
“Albany urgently needs new, honest leadership and I am encouraged by the support of my party for this post,” Kaminsky said. “Over the next few weeks, I will continue to meet with my family, community leaders, and neighbors to determine how I can best fight for Long Island and the South Shore.”
While the committee endorsed Kaminsky’s nomination, the party cannot officially nominate him until Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo sets a date for a special election — expected to be April 19, the day of the New York presidential primary.
Nassau has not elected a Democrat to the State Senate since Craig Johnson was defeated in 2010 by Republican Sen. Jack Martins of Mineola.
“This race is going to come down to who stands up for hardworking Long Island taxpayers and their families,” said Senate Republican spokesman Scott Reif. “On that question, Republicans are going to beat Todd Kaminsky and the New York City Democrats in a landslide.”
Rumored names among Nassau Republicans include Assemb. Brian Curran (R-Lynbrook), Hempstead Town Councilman Bruce Blakeman and Nassau Legis. Howard Kopel (R-Lawrence). A Republican source said Curran is considered the front-runner.
Nassau Republican Committee spokesman Michael Watt said the party plans to begin screening candidates “very soon.”