Back in the summer of 2009, Frank Scaturro, a Republican and 30-plus year resident of New Hyde Park announced that he would be running in 2010 for Congress in the 4th Congressional District to oppose the incumbent, Carolyn McCarthy, who had fallen out of grace with many of the people who voted for her previously.
Scaturro brought qualifications we have never seen in a congressional candidate – a home-grown constitutional lawyer who served as counsel for the constitution to the Senate Judiciary and worked on the nominations of Supreme Court Justices (John) Roberts and (Samuel) Alito; author of several books on history, a professor at Hofstra Law School and the list goes on and on highlighting the accomplishments of this young man.
He put together a strong campaign that raised more money than any other than any other Republican challenger in the history of this seat, and had supporters far and wide endorsing his decision to run.
Even though Scaturro had helped local Republican candidates for over 20 years, he was not enough of an “insider” for the political bosses who seem intent on controlling those they choose to run for office.
At the last minute, after asking nearly every political insider he could find to run, Joe Mondello found someone – (Nassau) County Legislator Fran Becker, who up until that time showed no desire to run for this seat.
Just prior to the petition drive, one of the GOP leaders sent out an e-mail blast to committeemen and committeewomen telling them, in so many words, “our party has endorsed Francis Becker in the 4th CD for Congress.
No leader or committee member should collect signatures for any other candidate for Congress or any other office. If you do not support our candidates, you should resign”.
The Nassau County GOP “machine” tried to destroy a campaign of unprecedented strength in order to send a message that their control is absolute, and we as voters may have missed an opportunity we will never see again.
The GOP machine pulled out all stops to block Scaturro in the primary election, even calling him a Democrat.
Once the primary was over, the congressional race no longer seemed much of a priority to the GOP bosses. Committeemen were encouraged to help with other races like Jack Martins (race for state Senate) and Edward Ra’s Assembly run.
Not surprisingly, those candidates won and Becker lost in this Republican-wave year.
We know from results across Nassau County that the seat was winnable had the leadership not done everything they could to undermine the democratic process and throw the primary to a weaker candidate.
The leaders accomplished what they wanted – to block the Republican candidate who was beholden to no one.
If this is not a betrayal of the voters the Republican leadership is supposed to serve, I don’t know what is.
Our vote should never be sacrificed due to intimidation by anyone. Government should be “of, by and for the people,” not of, by and for the party bosses!
My right to vote should not be tampered with by anybody’s bullying – especially the people I’ve endorsed and stood by for all of my voting life.
Shame on you, Mr. Mondello for not listening to the voters and for assuming that your decision was better than mine.
Ellen La Regina
New Hyde Park