Open congressional seat: Day 11
Someone thinks Lara Trump would be a good successor for Rep. Pete King’s soon-to-be-vacated seat.
A poll from Club for Growth PAC, a limited-government, pro-free enterprise group, found strong support for President Donald Trump’s daughter-in-law when compared to former Rep. Rick Lazio, who served four terms in Congress and launched unsuccessful U.S. Senate and gubernatorial runs.
The Nov. 17-18 survey of 400 Republican primary voters in CD2 was first reported by Breitbart Wednesday night. Conducted by WPA Intelligence, it found 60 percent favorability ratings for Lara vs. 26 percent for Lazio. She would win by 34 points head to head, the poll suggests.
The Trump relative has been floated as a possible political candidate before, but she kept it breezy in a Wednesday tweet referencing the poll: “Wow! I’m honored! But first, #FourMoreYears for @realDonaldTrump.”
The former Lara Yunaska of North Carolina does not have much pre-Trump political experience. She studied communications at North Carolina State and worked in media, as well as the culinary arts, according to news stories.
She married Eric Trump in a 2014 Mar-a-Lago celebration wearing “Vera Wang and bandages on her wrists - she broke both horse riding two weeks before,” according to The Evening Standard.
She became involved in the 2016 campaign, “cultivating a reputation in high-drama Trumpworld as relatively low-key and accessible,” as per a 2017 McClatchy story. Soon she was bashing the media she once worked in and making some headlines of her own when her brother got a job with the Federal Department of Energy; and when she told federal workers they should feel good about their “sacrifice” of not getting paid during the shutdown of the government this year.
She doesn’t appear to have much connection to Long Island. There was a reported $10,000 donation to the North Shore Animal League from Eric Trump’s foundation. Over the last decade, the registered Republican has been voting in New York City, and only in general elections, according to voting records. Late last year, the city Board of Elections got notice that she moved to Westchester.
How would she fare in CD2, which goes from Seaford along the South Shore deep into Suffolk County?
There’s many potential local GOP candidates other than Lazio, none of whom was tested in the Club for Growth PAC’s poll. Joe Kildea, a spokesman for the group, writes in an email, “At this time Lazio is the most talked about potential candidate and has received by far the most media attention as a potential candidate.”
Whether or not that’s a true read of the field — which could include the likes of State Sen. Phil Boyle, Islip Town Council member Trish Bergin, Suffolk Republican Elections Commissioner Nick LaLota or Assemb. Michael LiPetri — she’d certainly be the beneficiary of powerful national friends happy to nationalize the race. For example: “She is a dynamic leader who is uniquely positioned [to] withstand Nancy Pelosi’s socialist assault and hold the seat,” says David McIntosh, Club for Growth PAC president, in a statement. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee was quickly out with a news release about an “out-of-touch” candidate, but the initial reaction from some GOP leaders was that Lara Trump would be tough to beat.
Then there’s that name recognition, helpful in a CD that went heavily for Donald Trump in 2016. Despite the current impeachment inquiry, the poll suggests that Republicans are still with Trump, with GOP primary voters logging a 78 percent favorability rating of the president.
Asked what type of Republicans they were, a hefty 29 percent said “Trump Republicans,” barely beaten out by “Traditional Republicans” at 35 percent.
—Mark Chiusano @mjchiusano
If Lara Trump decides to run for Rep. Pete King’s congressional seat, she’d likely want to move to CD2, even though she actually doesn’t have to be a resident of the district to run. The Constitution requires only that representatives live in the state they represent.
But assuming Trump doesn’t want to represent the district from Westchester, she’ll have to start house shopping.
So, The Point decided to help the Trumps out a bit, by providing a couple of possibilities for them now to save some time. If they take a drive – or perhaps a helicopter ride – out to the South Shore, they’ll find some grand properties ready for the taking.
Perhaps Lara could start with a nearly 7,300-square-foot Victorian in East Islip, on a road called The Helm. On 1.5 acres of land, the five-bedroom, eight-bath house, built in 2017, features a heated saltwater pool and spa, along with great views of the Great South Bay. The Trumps are catching this property at a good time since, according to Zillow, its asking price was just reduced by a stunning $929,000, down to $4.95 million. Taxes, according to Coach Realtors’ website, come to a mere $45,120.
If that’s not enough land, or if a few more bedrooms are in order, the Trumps could head to Bay Shore, where there’s an estate called Awixa Castle. Awixa Castle has 9 bedrooms and 8 bathrooms. The home is nearly 11,000 square feet, and sits on 3.1 acres of land, according to Zillow. And it seems to be a steal, with a price tag of just under $2.2 million. The Tudor-style home was built in 1900, according to Zillow, and boasts a boat slip and boat house, and a private pool, and features “golden oak” paneling, which might fit in with the Trump aesthetic. And it’s got quite a history – and its own website.
There are several other homes for sale along the Great South Bay that are worth a look. One, in Magoun Landing in West Islip, has a separate poolhouse and even its own private helipad, which could certainly help make the home a landing spot for Trump family reunions. It’s on the market for $3.9 million. And then the Trumps could join the Magoun Landing Civic Association! Dues are just $250 a year.
But what if the Trumps want to be neighbors with the retiring Rep. King in Seaford? There, the homes for sale are generally smaller, and have far less land around them. The most expensive house for sale in Seaford is actually a foreclosure property – a six-bedroom, three-bath home on Narraganset Ave. At the bargain price of $938,800, the Trumps could spend the next few months doing a massive renovation, as long as they don’t mind being a bit closer to their neighbors.
Happy house hunting!
—Randi F. Marshall @RandiMarshall
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Long Island’s housing dilemma
As Long Island grapples with the need for more housing of all types, it’s worth noting that the region has dealt with that urgency for decades.
In the late 1940s, though, Long Island had plenty of space and homes were being erected in droves. Newsday’s editorial board took note of that 71 years ago, on Nov. 20, 1948, citing stats that showed that for the first nine months of that year Nassau County was the site of well more than half of all new home construction in New York City, Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester — 10,556 new units compared to 18,811 for the region as a whole.
Suffolk, incidentally, saw only 669 new dwellings, but the board correctly foresaw the future, writing, “While the building activity in Suffolk has been minute compared to Nassau, it isn’t going to be long before Long Island’s easternmost county is going to catch up. Where else is that irresistible population push going, once Nassau’s available space is taken?”
While the board welcomed the frenzy of activity, as well as the influx of industry it saw following the home-building, it sounded a warning that would become a Long Island reflex for generations. County, town and village governments, it wrote, have to choose one of two courses:
“1. They can allow their counties to become enveloped and absorbed, and ultimately become another indistinguishable part of the great metropolitan sprawl.
“2. They can plan, now, to channel the growth of population and industry into a coordinated pattern.”
The board then made an argument for countywide zoning laws lest Long Island in 1970 “look like any big city — slums and all,” a warning reflected in an accompanying cartoon depicting 1970 Long Island as some nightmarish urban landscape.
As we know now, countywide zoning laws were never adopted and the region never exactly channeled its growth in a coordinated pattern that might better serve our current needs. And though Long Island never became the dreaded extension of the city, those worries were voiced for decades, and even now on occasion — at local zoning or planning board meetings, when some local resident will begin, “If I wanted to live in Queens...”
—Michael Dobie @mwdobie