WASHINGTON — Jack Martins, the Republican candidate running to replace retiring Democratic Rep. Steve Israel, will vote for Donald Trump, his party’s presidential candidate, but has not endorsed him, said Martins’ spokesman E. O’Brien Murray on Thursday.
That position by Martins, a state senator from Old Westbury, sets him apart from Long Island’s current Republican congressmen, Reps. Peter King of Seaford and Lee Zeldin of Shirley, who both have endorsed Trump.
“Jack is voting for his party’s nominee,” Murray said but hasn’t used the word endorse. “He is focused on his campaign and winning in November.”
Martins was last quoted about his preference in the presidential race in a May news report in The Island Now before the June primary saying he would back whoever won the GOP presidential nomination.
Martins is running for the open seat against Democrat Tom Suozzi, the former Nassau County executive from Glen Cove who attended the Democratic convention and supports his party’s presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton.
Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-Garden City) and Democrat Anna Throne-Holst of Southampton, who is running against Zeldin, also have endorsed Clinton.
But Martins has been cautious, focusing primarily on the issues in his district, and has been low-key about his Trump support.
Martins is one of 15 Republican House candidates that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee on Thursday targeted with a digital ad that runs through Tuesday that questions their “standards” because of their support Trump and his controversial remarks.
Murray said Martins’ position on the presidential race is not a big issue at his campaign and fundraising appearances.
“It doesn’t come up. The voters have supported and continue to support Jack based on his track record of independence, bi-partisan ship and getting it done right,” Murray said.
Martins stressed bipartisanship and criticized both Trump and Clinton when he participated in an interview Wednesday with Jay Oliver on LI News Radio.
“I wish we would just get to the issues that are important to the country. I wish Donald Trump would apologize to the Khan family, recognize Capt. Khan’s great sacrifice and the family’s great sacrifice on behalf of the country,” Martins said.
“And frankly I would love to see Hillary Clinton come out and talk about the Clinton Foundation and get that off the table, and all of the dealings with all these countries all over the world and her time as secretary of state,” he said.
“I would love to see both party’s candidates put the nonsense aside, and let’s focus on jobs, let’s focus on the economy, let’s focus on the $18 trillion debt, let’s focus on national security, let’s focus on terrorism and how we can protect our communities and our families.”