Jack Martins, a Republican candidate in the 3rd Congressional District, said Tuesday he will vote for Donald Trump because he is the only viable candidate who wants to take the country in a new direction.
While he rejected the GOP presidential candidate’s rhetoric and disavowed his proposed ban on Muslim immigration, Martins said the Democratic presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, “can’t be trusted” and “has let us down time and again.”
“On the Republican side we have someone who says that they understand that the country’s heading in the wrong direction, and we have to bring jobs back, we have to stimulate our economy and we have to get this country going,” Martins, an Old Westbury state senator, said at a candidate forum in Bay Terrace.
Martins also said a vote for Tom Suozzi, his Democratic rival, would be a vote to continue what he characterized as the failed policies of the Obama administration, as he said Clinton has pledged to do.
Philip Pidot, Martins’ Republican primary opponent, took the same tack on Trump, saying he is “not a fan” of him but will vote for “whatever candidate stands the best chance of stopping Hillary Clinton from returning to the White House.”
Suozzi, a former Nassau County executive, again stated his support for Clinton but said he disagrees with her proposal to raise the federal income tax and that she bungled the handling of revelations that she used a private email server as secretary of state.
At the event sponsored by the Bay Terrace Community Alliance — the first featuring all three 3rd District candidates — Martins and Pidot both called for the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, saying it has driven up healthcare costs and taken away consumers’ control over their insurance policies.
Martins criticized the landmark healthcare law at a July forum in Sands Point, but did not previously say it should be repealed.
Suozzi said the law has done some good by allowing young adults to stay on their parents’ policies until age 26 and preventing insurers from denying coverage due to a pre-existing condition. But he said there should be an option to buy into the Medicare insurance system.
Pidot spent all of his nearly seven-minute opening statement describing and criticizing Martins’ efforts to knock him off the ballot and move the general election to Dec. 6 from Nov. 8. Suozzi also took jabs at Martins’ legal maneuvers.
Speaking hours after a federal court denied his request to delay the general election, Martins defended his moves as attempts to protect the integrity of the electoral process, saying he was not picking on his opponents but rather “making sure the rules are applied equally to everybody.”
“We all start on the same line and the rules apply to everyone, and they should apply to everyone,” Martins said.
Martins and Pidot will face off in an Oct. 6 Republican primary. The winner will face Suozzi in the Nov. 8 general election, for which Martins has the Conservative and Reform party lines.
Reach reporter Noah Manskar by e-mail at [email protected] or by phone at 516.307.1045 x204. Also follow us on Twitter @noahmanskar and Facebook at facebook.com/theislandnow.