Written by Karen Gellender and Christy Hinko Friday, 17 September 2010 00:00
On Wednesday, Sept. 8, on the steps of the State Supreme Court in Mineola, Plainview businesswoman Francesca Carlow announced that she has received the endorsement of the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee (DSCC) in the race for the 6th New York State Senate District seat against 34-year Republican incumbent Kemp Hannon. A day later, her Democratic Primary opponent, Dave Mejias, who was recently arrested for allegedly stalking his ex-girlfriend, announced that he would drop out of the race.
Carlow made the following statement at her Sept. 8 press conference: “I am very pleased that the DSCC has embraced my vision for a better Long Island and for an honest, responsive representation in government. Unlike my Republican opponent, I am not a career politician. As someone who has never run for office before, I began this race because I am tired of the dysfunction and waste in Albany. I think we all are!
“For 34 years, Kemp Hannon has been sent to Albany year after year. Over that period of time, our taxes have skyrocketed while our business environment has eroded. Our children can no longer afford to stay on Long Island and raise their families. It is time for a new approach. It is time to use our resources to attract new business and high paying jobs. Doing so will broaden our tax base and help stem the rise in our property taxes. I am the people’s candidate, and my only allegiance is to the people of the 6th District and Long Island.”
Carlow campaign spokesperson David Kaplan said that they had been meeting with the DSCC in the 24 hours previous to the announcement. “For 34 years, Kemp Hannon and his Republican cronies have driven our state into an economic ditch, and Francesca Carlow represents the change we so desperately need,” said Josh Cherwin, New York Senate Democratic Executive Director, in a printed statement distributed by the DSCC.
In response to a question posed to Carlow about why the DSCC chose to back Carlow in the middle of a primary, the candidate reiterated her concern for the people of her district. “I think they realized that I’m an independent voice for the people of the 6th, I represent the people, and my only allegiance is to them; I think the message got across,” she said.
When asked by Anton Newspapers after her press conference if she believed that Mejias’ recent arrest had any influence on the DSCC’s decision to support her, Carlow said that she didn’t know, however she thought that they had chosen the best candidate.
In response to another question, she also noted that the specifics concerning the kind of support she will receive from the DSCC have not been worked out, but that she feels “very confident” that they will be working together.
The DSCC also announced that they have accepted Carlow’s invitation to join her at a “Get Out the Vote” rally that took place on Sunday, Sept. 12.
A different Democratic organization, the Nassau County Democratic Committee, had fought to get Carlow knocked off the ballot for several weeks in a legal effort that only concluded the day after Mejias was arrested. Steve Glass, liaison for Jay Jacobs, chairman of both the New York State Democratic Committee and the Nassau County Democratic Committee, the latter of which had backed the Mejias campaign until its conclusion, did not return calls from Anton Newspapers. Carlow said late Wednesday that she had not heard from anyone at the Nassau County Democratic Committee.
On Thursday morning, the day after the DSCC’s announcement, Mejias announced at a press conference at Bethpage’s Carlyle on the Green that he would drop out of the race. He asked voters to support Carlow.
“Albany is broken. Dysfunction, corruption, and special interests run rampant. The voters deserve a real debate on the issues. My continued candidacy would replace a meaningful debate about the future of our great state with distraction and sensationalism. Long Island deserves better. It is for that reason that I can no longer continue in this race and ask the voters to support Francesca Carlow,” Mejias said. He also thanked his family, friends and campaign supporters for all of their recent support.
While he would not discuss the details of the incident that led to his Sept. 1 arrest, he did state that there was no physical contact involved. “This was a brief verbal dispute in which there was no physical injury, no physical contact, and no property damage. This was completely a chance encounter during which no one was run off the road or chased out of their car. This brief verbal dispute involved a business dispute, nothing else. Any inference that this incident involved domestic violence is categorically wrong,” he said.
According to William Biamonte, Democratic Commissioner of the Nassau County Board of Elections, Mejias’ name remained on the ballot for the Democratic Primary on Tuesday, Sept. 14. He said that July 19 was the last day to accept or decline to be on the ballot.