Douglas Tuman, the commissioner of engineering in the Town Hempstead, took an early lead in Tuesday’s contest for the Republican nomination to run against U.S. Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-Garden City) in the 4th Congressional District.
With thousands of absentee ballots still to be counted, the Nassau County Board of Elections reported that Tuman had received 5,217 votes and his opponent, Cindy Grosz, a columnist, radio personality and Jewish activist, had received 1,766.
Rice, who is seeking a fourth term, was unopposed for the Democratic nomination.
The 4th Congressional District is situated in central and southern Nassau County, including Floral Park, Garden City, Hempstead, Mineola, Carle Place, New Hyde Park and Westbury.
The Board of Elections reported that all 652 in the district had counted. The county results also showed that 82 write-in votes were submitted in the election.
Efforts to reach the county’s Board of Elections for comment were unavailing.
No results from the 4th Congressional District were posted on the New York State Board of Elections website as of Wednesday afternoon.
Efforts to reach Tuman, Grosz and Rice were unavailing.
Earlier, Tuman said his campaign platform centers around infrastructure improvements, improving representative democracy and making Nassau County a more affordable place for young families to live.
He is backed by the Nassau County Republican Committee.
He said that he believes that he would be more attuned to his constituents than Rice is, if elected.
“I don’t think she’s in the community very much,” Tuman said. “She’s in Washington, and not really in her district anymore. I would be in my district, and then going to Washington to represent my people.”
Since Tuman is the commissioner of engineering for the Town of Hempstead, which makes up much of the district, he is highly familiar with the communities he would be representing, he said.
In particular, he emphasized that he is familiar with the infrastructure of the communities, which he believes needs improvement. If elected, he would push to fortify the South Shore by implementing measures such as installing floodgates. Such initiatives would save the district billions of dollars in potential damage from storms, he said.
“At the end of the day, what really separates me is first and foremost what a congressperson is supposed to do is advocate for their people, and I think we’ve lost sight of that,” he said.
Rice first beat Republican candidate Bruce Blakeman in 2014 after incumbent Carolyn McCarthy did not seek re-election, which left the Democratic seat open.
Rice’s top priority is helping school districts, small businesses, hospitals and nursing homes recover from the coronavirus pandemic, she told Blank Slate Media earlier in an email.
She said that beyond providing these entities with “targeted financial relief,” she seeks to help them develop and implement plans to avoid recurrent coronavirus surges, as well as to combat future pandemics.
“Long Island is getting ready to re-open, and that’s a good thing,” Rice said. “But we need to make sure that our critical services and local municipalities have the tools they need to operate safely and successfully in the weeks and months to come.”