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Nassau GOP set to back Phillips to replace Martins in State Senate

Flower Hill Mayor Elaine Phillips on May 23,

Flower Hill Mayor Elaine Phillips on May 23, 2014. Credit: Uli Seit

Republicans are set to nominate Flower Hill Mayor Elaine Phillips to run for the seat being vacated by state Sen. Jack Martins, who is running for Congress.

The Nassau County Republican Committee is expected to make the designation official at a meeting Thursday, along with other key nominations. For example, the party hadn’t determined, as of midday Wednesday, whether it will back Christopher McGrath to take on state Sen. Todd Kaminsky (D-Long Beach) in a Senate rematch or who it will back to run for a seat being vacated by Assemb. Michelle Schimel (D-Port Washington).

But its choice to succeed Martins is set, one source said. Martins said Phillips would be a “great candidate.”

“I hope she gets it,” Martins said, noting nothing is official until the party’s nominating convention. “She is an exceptionally well-qualified candidate who, frankly, has all the skill sets you want for that seat. . . . She’s a great success story who doesn’t forget where she comes from.”

Phillips’ candidacy was signaled earlier this month when Martins escorted Phillips around the Senate chamber in Albany as a sort of introductory tour.

Martins (R-Old Westbury) is in his sixth year as the district’s senator but is running to replace Rep. Steve Israel (D-Huntington), who is stepping down, effective at the end of the year.

Democrat Adam Haber, who lost to Martins in 2014, has said he’ll run again for the Senate seat.

Republicans expect to nominate state Sens. Kemp Hannon (R-Garden City), Carl Marcellino (R-Syosset) and Michael Venditto (R-Oyster Bay) for re-election.

But it’s unclear who they will back in the 9th Senate District.

Just one month ago, McGrath lost a close race to Kaminsky in a special election to replace ex-state Sen. Dean Skelos, who was convicted in 2015 on bribery and conspiracy charges. The special election was to fill the remainder of Skelos’ term while any rematch would be for the full term.

Similarly, the party is still weighing candidates to run for a seat currently held by Schimel; she decided not to run for re-election after 10 years in office.

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