Frank Scaturro figures the second time around could be the charm in his primary challenge against Francis Becker to be the Republican candidate to challenge U.S. Rep. Carolyn McCarthy in the 4th Congressional District.
The New Hyde Park native son lost a three-way race with Tea Party candidate Daniel Maloney in the mix two years ago. Becker finished with 49 percent of the vote, with Scaturro a distant second pulling 37 percent of the vote. Maloney drew 14 percent.
As Scaturro sees it, Maloney was a stalking horse to hobble his chances against Becker.
“The party bosses wanted the third candidate to be on ballot to take votes away from me. He didn’t have much money or organization,” Scaturro said.
Scaturro said the Republican power brokers run a system that’s “increasingly anachronistic through patronage workers they like to control.”
He likes his odds one-on-one against Becker, who he said couldn’t ride the wave of the Republican surge in the 2010 election.
“Fran Becker had a chance to run in the biggest Republican tsunami since ‘46 and he lost. He did not campaign hard and I don’t think he presented himself well on the issues. I think people are disgusted by the shenanigans of party leadership that have helped put not only our country but our county in the hole,” Scaturro said
Currently a partner at the law firm FSB FisherBroyles, Scaturro served four years as counsel for the Constitution on the Senate Judiciary Committee during the Bush administration, focusing on executive and judicial nominations and legislation related to constitutional law issues.
He’s well aware that he’s up against the party’s preferred candidate, but he sounds comfortable in that position.
“I come to this with willingness to swim upstream and resist influences from my side of the aisle and the other side,” Scaturro said.
As a volunteer with the National Park Service while attending Columbia University, Scaturro launched a one-man campaign to restore Grant’s Tomb, the final resting place of Ulysses Grant in upper Manhattan.
“I butted my head against the bureaucrats for two years,” he said.
Scaturro went public with a whistle-blowing report to successfully pressure Congress to clean up the monument in 1997 with a $1.8 million refurbishment.
Now he said his priority, if he wins a seat in Congress, is to put the nation’s financial house in order, starting with spending – “out of control” – and Social Security and Medicare – on an “unsustainable path.”
“We need to make sure seniors will not have the rug pulled out from under them by kicking the can down the road,” he said.
Scaturro said some form of means testing should be instituted for Medicare. For those under 55, a “modest increase in retirement age,” and some form of means test should also be established.
“I fear you’re going to have a system that leads to rationing. Health care has a cost that is completely out of control,” Scaturro said.
Far from Obamacare, he said, what the health care system needs is to afford users more choice and provide for more competition. He also sees the need for tort reforms to reduce insurance costs for doctors that are driving up overall health-care costs.
On foreign policy, he thinks stabilizing conditions in the Middle East is a paramount concern. Scaturro said he favors a stronger diplomatic line against North Korea and Iran. He also supports more stringent sanctions against Iran’s central bank and a hard line backing Israel’s interests.
“We have to make it clear that if Iran doesn’t cease its nuclear ambitions that we would support military measures that Israel deems necessary to protect itself,” Scaturro said. “The greatest way to prevent war and the loss of innocent life is to make sure these countries run by thugs don’t get away with threatening other countries with weapons of mass destruction.”
He said consideration should also be given to admitting Japan and Australia into the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
A news report last month said Scaturro was still in debt from his last campaign.
Last week he said that as of April 15, he had $110,000 in his campaign coffers and $70,000 in hand.
If he succeeds in getting past Becker, Scaturro will be running in a slightly redrawn 4th Congressional District in November that now extends southward to the city of Long Beach while still including all or part of Mineola, New Hyde Park, Floral Park, Garden City, Rockville Centre, Franklin Square, the Willistons, Westbury, East Meadow, Freeport and Oceanside.