SEA CLIFF MAYOR BRUCE KENNEDY, NOW A DEMOCRAT, DROPS BID FOR ASSEMBLY SEAT; WILL CHALLENGE INCUMBENT REPUBLICAN STATE SENATOR CARL MARCELLINO
July 11, 2014 -- Sea Cliff Mayor Bruce Kennedy, a registered Republican for his entire adult life, has received the Nassau County Democratic Committee's nomination to be the party's candidate to challenge incumbent Republican Carl Marcellino to represent New York State’s 5th Senate District which comprises the north shore of Long Island from Hempstead Harbor to Northport. According to the Mayor, the Suffolk Democratic Committee is expected to give its nod today as well. Although not required for receiving the party's backing, Mr. Kennedy said that he has filed papers to change his party affiliation from Republican to Democrat.
Less than two months ago, in late May, the Nassau County Republican committee officially nominated Mr. Kennedy, 49, to be the party’s candidate for the 13th Assembly District seat held by Democrat Charles Lavine. The GOP then withdrew its nomination after Conservative Party leaders raised objections over the Sea Cliff Mayor having officiated two same sex marriages and his refusal to support repeal of the 2011 Marriage Equality Act.
The GOP and the Conservative Party have now thrown their support behind attorney Lou Imbroto who lost to Mr. Lavine by nearly 30 percentage points two years ago. Following the snub, Mr. Kennedy continued to seek the party line on the November ballot collecting signatures to be in a run-off against Mr. Imbroto in a GOP primary this coming September. That effort, of course, has been abandoned, with the Mayor's decision to enter the Senate race.
Over the last several weeks, as Mr. Kennedy's story gained a wider audience, appearing in publications such as the on-line Huffington Post and on CBS News, he was courted by New York Democrats to challenge Mr. Marcellino, 71, for a seat he has held since 1995.
In a Friday afternoon interview with Northwordnews, Mr. Kennedy expressed disappointment that Mr. Marcellino had not spoken out in public or reached out to him after the GOP had made its decision to withdraw the nomination. Speaking more broadly, he said, "I was abandoned by the party. Why would I want to be a part of a party that deems me unfit for obeying the law?"
The Sea Cliff Mayor said that people have come to him for years encouraging him to switch parties, telling him that the Democratic Party seemed to be a better fit. "I needed something to show me why that was the case," he said. "I thought there was room for debate in the [Republican] Party." In recent weeks, friends, family, and elected officials, have offered their counsel in helping him come to his decision to not only abandon the GOP but to challenge Mr. Marcellino.
Mr. Kennedy said that "while the beliefs and values I hold are not changing, my voter registration is. . . My values as they relate to human rights do not reflect views of the Nassau County Republican leadership." Additionally, he said electing "more Democratic Senators will be better for the people of Long Island." "Democrats," he continued, "tend to be more in touch with the middle class" and that he could be "both business friendly and an advocate for working families." He said he would work to reduce the tax burden, and to "re-address the issue of equality - so that it becomes a non-issue", as well as to give strong support to public education.
Assemblyman Charles Lavine, in response to a request for comment from Northwordnews, said "Mayor Kennedy will find an infinitely more comfortable home with the Democrats, the political party that fights for both the economic rights of the middle class and civil rights of every American."
Senator Marcellino responded, "Politics is all about fair elections. Every two years, I have an opponent. This time is no different. I am honored to serve the people of the 5th Senate District and over the next few months I will be asking for their continued support and confidence. I always put the needs of the community first and the results speak for themselves. I love this job and I want to continue to listen to the people and represent their positions. Every Long Islander deserves the opportunity to succeed. I will continue the fight to cut taxes, create jobs and support our education system. I look forward to the campaign and speaking to the residents."
Enthusiastic about the upcoming campaign, Mr. Kennedy said, "I am pleased that the Democratic Committee's trust in me as a candidate is as great as the trust I have placed in them. I am looking forward to working with Chairman [Jay] Jacobs in what is sure to be the most exciting state senate campaign in this district in years."
Mr. Kennedy will officially announce his candidacy at an event at Lincoln Plaza in Sea Cliff on Thursday July 17 at 1:30 pm.
There are 63 Senate districts across New York State, each comprising approximately 312,000 people, and the term of office is two years.
There are 150 Assembly districts, each with approximately 131,000 people, and like the Senate, the term of office is two years.
BACK TO HOME PAGE
BACK TO WEEKLY
NEW YORK STATE'S 5TH SENATE DISTRICT