Amid all of the high-profile political drama taking place in New York today–notably the City Council speaker’s race vote and Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s major State of the State address in Albany–there’s significant news happening in Long Island as well.
Long Island Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy was diagnosed with a treatable form of lung cancer, she announced in a statement this evening.
“My doctor at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, where I’ll receive my treatment, has told me that I begin my treatment in good physical health and that he looks forward to my return to work after I recover,” she said. “My family and I will appreciate privacy while I undergo my treatment.”
Earlier this morning, Democratic lawmakers gathered in Washington D.C. to unveil the Assault Weapons Ban of 2013, which islegislation that would ban “military-style” assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition clips. The press conference announcing the bill featured New York Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy, the legislation’s House sponsor, as its first speaker. Needless to say, Ms. McCarthy–whose husband was killed in a 1993 shooting spree on the Long Island Rail Road–made it clear it wasn’t going to be a speech that stuck to the script.
“This battle has been a very lonely battle for many, many years,” Ms. McCarthy began. “You know, a lot of words can be said. I’ve got a great speech here and my staff worked on it a long time and I’m probably going to do what they always tell me not to do. That means just talk from my heart.”
Ms. McCarthy expressed particular frustration that gun control legislation has stalled in Congress but argued that the recent massacre at a Newtown, Connecticut elementary school would be the catalyst for change.
Two Long Island congressional finance reports just popped up on the Federal Elections Commission’s website: Democrats Steve Israel and Carolyn McCarthy.
Mr. Israel, who netted north of $400,000, is less notable, however, as he is a more entrenched incumbent. Ms. McCarthy, on the other hand, won reelection with about 54% in 2010 and could see a potentially competitive election against same opponent as last time, GOP Nassau County Legislator Fran Becker. She raised just over $274,000 in the last three months.
Now that both the Assembly and the Senate district maps have come out (not that these maps mean very much of course) we can see that, in fact, the reverse was true: The Senate’s version sends Mr. Ackerman mostly into Ms. McCarthy’s district, while the Assembly map divides his district four ways and effectively puts Mr. Ackerman in a majority-minority district.
Over the weekend rumors emerged that Democratic Congressman Gary Ackerman would not seek reelection in 2012. In response to these rumors, Mr. Ackerman tweeted, “Republican rumor mill is 100%, Absolutely Wrong. I’m running.” In an interview with Capital New York, he emphatically and repeatedly rejected this speculation as well.
But that’s not enough to convince the National Republican Congressional Committee. The organization sent out a statement this afternoon directly stating Mr. Ackerman will end up retiring.
“The question is not if but when Gary Ackerman is going to retire,” Nathaniel Sillin, the group’s regional press secretary, wrote.