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Jack Martins wins GOP, Conservative backing for Congress

State Sen. Jack Martins poses for a portrait

State Sen. Jack Martins poses for a portrait at his office on Thursday, July 3, 2014. Credit: James Escher

Nassau, Suffolk and Queens Republicans and Conservatives have united behind State Sen. Jack Martins in the race for retiring Democrat Rep. Steve Israel’s Third District seat.

Queens and Suffolk Republicans endorsed Martins Monday night, and the Nassau GOP decided to support Martin’s last Thursday. Conservatives made their decision over the weekend.

Candidates were able to begin circulating nominating petitions Tuesday. The petition deadline is April 14.

Martins thanked the parties for their support, saying “I look forward bringing everyone together to work toward victory in November and to carry the fight to Washington.”

The Nassau GOP is trying to woo Martins’ potential GOP primary foe, David “Bull” Gurfein, to challenge Democratic Rep. Kathleen Rice instead.

Nassau GOP officials say they want Gurfein, a retired U.S. Marine lieutenant colonel and a former Great Neck High School football star, to run against Rice, of Garden City, instead of expending resources in what could become a divisive primary in the Third District.

Gurfein, of Manhasset, did not return calls for comment.

Gurfein, according to party sources, is considering the idea but is reluctant because it would mean running in a district where he is not currently a resident.

Backers say he also feels a large part of his appeal is based on his hometown recognition as a former high school quarterback who took Great Neck to its only undefeated football season ever.

Assemb. Chad Lupinacci (R-South Huntington), another possible GOP congressional contender, said he will not run a primary and will support Martins’ congressional bid.

As many as a half dozen Democrats are vying to run in the June 28 party primary for the Third District seat.

Martins’ decision to give up his Senate seat to run for Congress increases the risks for State Senate Republicans, who hold a narrow majority in a coalition with a handful of Democrats.

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