POLITICS

Long Island GOP machine looking to boot another race?

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Politics,Beltway Confidential,Michael Barone

I wrote two years ago about the contest for the Republican nomination in the 4th Congressional District of New York, where former Senate Judiciary staffer Frank Scaturro, who was running a vigorous campaign, lost the Republican primary to former local official Fran Becker, who was backed by the Nassau County Republican organization.

This is an old-style political machine, lubricated by putatively voluntary contributions from county and local employees and chaired by the same man, Joseph Mondello, since 1983, which seemed to be supporting Becker, son of a former congressman, so that the nomination, and possibly a House seat in November, would not go to someone who is not one of its own. Becker spent only $307,000 in 2008 — not really a competitive amount — while incumbent Democrat Carolyn McCarthy spent nearly $1.7 million and won by only 54%-46%.

Scaturro announced he was running again in early 2011; Becker entered the race in February 2012. The Becker forces have attacked Scaturro as a “liberal” because he worked for Arlen Specter when he was Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. That is, of course, long before Specter’s April 2009 party switch. And as Chairman Specter was in fact an effective force for conservative measures and a very strong and effective advocate of the nominations of Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito. I remember when he interjected, “Senator Kennedy, let the judge answer the question.”

Anyway, it’s ridiculous to attack Scaturro because Specter switched parties after he worked for him.

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