Democratic voting rights attorney Michael Pernick, 33, of Rockville Centre,...

Democratic voting rights attorney Michael Pernick, 33, of Rockville Centre, announced Wednesday he's running to succeed Sen. Todd Kaminsky in a State Senate district in Nassau County. Credit: Matt Pitkoff

A Democratic voting rights attorney announced Wednesday he’s running to succeed Sen. Todd Kaminsky in a key State Senate district in Nassau County.

Michael Pernick, 33, who worked for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and who also has served on the county ethics board, has focused on voting rights and redistricting issues around the nation, his campaign said. Kaminsky (D-Long Beach) announced in February he won’t seek reelection after representing the 9th Senate District, which covers much of the southwest corner of Nassau, since May 2016.

Democrats also said Wednesday they are backing David Lobl, a former Cuomo administration official, to run for the Nassau-based Assembly seat recently vacated by Republican Melissa Miller. That seat will be filled in a special election April 7.

Republicans have not named a candidate yet for either contest.

Pernick grew up in Nassau County and earned a law degree at New York University. He worked at a private law firm before joining the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, which he has left to run for office. He was appointed to the county ethics board in 2017.

"I’ve traveled the country ensuring our most sacred right as citizens in a democracy — the right to vote — is accessible to all," said Pernick, a Rockville Centre resident. "Now I’m running for the State Senate because I’m ready to fight for my community. I understand the challenges we face, from sky-high property taxes to unmanageable health care costs. I’m ready to dig in and do the hard work to get real results for the South Shore."

Jay Jacobs, the county and state Democratic chairman, called Pernick a "talented and outspoken advocate for our democratic principles."

"Michael is what Nassau County needs, an energetic fighter who will push back against the right-wing extremism in today’s Republican Party," Jacobs said.

The district long had been a Republican seat before Kaminsky won a special election in 2016. Kaminsky, an attorney, is expected to join the private sector.

Lobl works for a lobbying firm but was a special adviser to then-Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo from 2012-18.

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