Feb 24, 2012
By JONATHAN WALTER
Standard Staff Reporter
Nassau County Legislator Francis Becker is running again for Congress. The announcement was made this week as he hopes to challenge incumbent Carolyn McCarthy for New York’s Fourth Congressional District. However, Becker will first have to overcome Frank Scaturro, who is also seeking the Republican nomination for the race, setting up an identical situation to the race in the 2010 primary.
Two years ago, Becker lost the race to McCarthy, 94,483 votes to 81,718 or 53.6 percent to 46.4 percent. That was the closest margin of victory that McCarthy has seen in a congressional race since Becker’s brother Gregory lost to her in the 1998 election by a margin of 54 percent to 47 percent.
“I’m very excited about it,” Becker said. “It didn’t seem like so long ago. There was a lot of enthusiasm for the last race and I feel like let’s get started early.”
Becker also talked about some of the issues he feels are important going into this election year.
“What’s interesting, in two years, many of the issues are still there and many have gotten worse,” Becker said. “Honestly, Congresswoman McCarthy has done nothing to resolve these issues and hasn’t been a voice of the people in the district and representative of them. She’s allowing the deficit to skyrocket. We have to repeal Obamacare. We see some of the impact in the implementation of what they call a “woman’s health issue,” and I don’t consider birth control to be a “woman’s health issue.” We see the requirement that despite religious objections (to it’s requirement as something covered by health insurance), this is being forced down peoples throat and a lot of people believe this is wrong that health care shouldn’t pay for that and that religious groups having to pay for it is wrong. I don’t want to get wrapped up in that one element, but Obamacare is undermining health care in this county and we’re seeing costs skyrocket.”
As he tries to overcome the trial of winning in a highly Democratic area, he looks to New York’s Ninth Congressional District, formerly held by scandalized Anthony Weiner, as inspiration.
“I’m encouraged by the success of Congressman Turner winning in a highly democratic area,” Becker said. “I’m very excited about running again and I’ll be a little ahead of the curve this time. We came very close last time.”
Despite his relative success against McCarthy last year, Becker had to first defeat challenger Scaturro in a rare Nassau County Republican primary. After what was a nasty race for the nomination that featured one particularly notable debate in which the two candidates took shots are each other, Becker received 10,361 votes to Scaturro’s 7,733 votes to earn the right to face McCarthy.
Following Becker’s announcement, Scaturro, who officially declared his own candidacy in the middle part of 2011, issued a statement:
“The people of this county are looking for fresh leadership,” Scaturro said. “The voters were not given that chance in the 2010 general elections. We can’t use the same playbook this time around. Since 2010, New York has seen the election of seven new House Republicans, six of whom were fresh faces. This district was not given that opportunity. Running for congress takes more than announcing at the 11th hour and requires broad outreach to the electorate.”
When talking about this year’s election, Becker was more concerned with critiquing McCarthy and discussing his own plans than his potential road block on the way to the Republican nomination.
“A real concern, and even more because of the “Arab spring”, we see our ally in Israel under more of an increased threat. Two years ago, I heard McCarthy say nothing about it. If the voters like the voice that Peter King has in supporting Israel and Dean Skelos as well, they’ll get a person in me who is a voice and has a passion for protecting Israel and being a friend to her. My opinion is Israel has a right to defend herself. Iran continue to build their nuclear program and doesn’t seem to be concerned at all and play the game of letting inspectors in and out. Are we going to wait till Iran has a bomb? In my debate with McCarthy, she called me inexperienced, but I think if we had a Republican voice, it would be different. I think she is being naive and I echo the voice of John Bolton, who has more experience than anyone, that the window to do something about Iran is closing if it hasn’t closed already. We hear a lot from the President, but not from McCarthy on these issues.”
Becker also discussed how he’s likely to lower the federal deficit, as he blamed Obamacare for the increasing federal debt, and critiqued Obama’s desire to tax the rich.
“Obama keeps talking about taxing the one percent, but anyone who knows anything knows you can’t tax your way out of your problems,” Becker said. “Its’ not about the rich. They have their money invested in the stock market, which creates job for new businesses and entrepreneurship. This country doesn’t see what it used to be and it feels so strange. These issues that are so contrary to what makes this nation great. That’s a problem for this administration and people who are successful shouldn’t be punished by paying more and more taxes. We should encourage others to become wealthy.”
Asked for a comment regarding Becker’s announcement, McCarthy’s spokesman Shams Tarek released this statement:
“At this time, Congresswoman McCarthy is focused on her efforts to cut the deficit and creating new economic opportunities for middle class families — she will engage in the fall campaign when the time comes,” Tarek said.
Becker anticipates he will begin his campaigning in around a month when he’ll open an official campaign headquarters.
“Most of what was in place is still in place and we’re going to do more of an official style announcement down the road,” Becker said. “I wanted to announce it to my friends and community locally that I’m running for congress and ask for their help and support.”
Nassau County Republican Party Council Member and Town of Hempstead Councilman Anthony Santino praised Becker for his close race two years ago, but wouldn’t give any indication of who the Republican party is leaning toward this time around.
“Fran did a great job last time,” Santino said. “He ran a great race and came very close so that’s someone the county will look long and hard at. There are others who expressed an interest in the race, so we will wait until the lines are drawn.”
Fellow Republican and Nassau County Legislator Howard Kopel also offered his thoughts on Becker.
“I think that Fran is a spectacular choice for congress,” Kopel said. “he’s been a dedicated passionate public servant for many years. The seat is currently occupied by someone who has accomplished virtually nothing in her years there. She is a one issue person who hasn’t even gotten anything done on that one issue. I’m delighted to see Fran running and I’ll definitely support him in whatever way possible.”
About the Author: