One Democrat running for Congress got an endorsement from a major gun-control group last week, while two Republicans got backing from law enforcement unions.
Americans for Responsible Solutions PAC, the anti-gun violence group formed by former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona, on Thursday endorsed U.S. Rep. Kathleen Rice, a Garden City Democrat seeking her second term in the 4th Congressional District.
“At every step, Kathleen Rice has worked to help break the gun lobby’s grip on Washington and we are grateful to have her as a champion for the vocal majority of Americans calling on Congress to act to reduce gun violence,” Giffords and her husband, Capt. Mark Kelly, an astronaut and U.S. Navy veteran, said in a statement.
Rice serves as a vice chair of the House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force and joined Giffords’ call last year for Congress to expand background checks for gun buyers.
Retired U.S. Marine David Gurfein, Rice’s Republican opponent in the southwestern Nassau County district, was endorsed Friday by the Nassau County Detectives Association, a union representing 1,200 current and retired detectives in the Nassau County Police Department.
Gurfein also has endorsements from the Nassau County Police Benevolent Association, the county’s largest police union and the Nassau County Superior Officers Association.
Representatives for two of the unions said Gurfein’s impressive record of military service led them to support him.
“I understand the challenges that they face and overall I think that we were aligned with our beliefs,” said Gurfein, who once ran a police academy in California.
Coleman Lamb, a Rice spoksman, said Rice’s campaign was “shocked” to learn law enforcement groups were still backing Gurfein after Monday’s New York Post report that he pleaded no contest to a 2010 misdemeanor battery charge in Arizona tied to a domestic dispute with his ex-wife and mother of his daughter.
Gurfein told the Post the fact that he ended up with equal custody of his daughter is what mattered most.
Edward Perkins, second vice president of the Nassau Superior Officers Association, said Gurfein’s military service outweighs a single mistake he hasn’t repeated.
“People do make mistakes and we shouldn’t judge people by one act,” Perkins said.
In the 3rd Congressional District, Republican state Sen. Jack Martins won his 11th law enforcement endorsement from the Nassau County Sheriff’s Correction Officers Benevolent Association, which represents 1,200 correction officers working in the state’s largest jail.
“Their devotion to duty and willingness to put themselves in harm’s way to protect our communities is something which should always be respected,” Martins said in a statement. “I appreciate their endorsement and support.”
Martins, of Old Westbury, has backing from 10 other law enforcement unions in Nassau and Suffolk counties. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Teamsters Local 282 also endorsed him Monday.
He faces Democrat Tom Suozzi, a former Nassau County executive, in the North Shore district stretching from northeast Queens to northwest Suffolk County.
Suozzi has been endorsed by environmental groups and several labor unions, including the New York State United Teachers. An announcement of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s endorsement was delayed after Suozzi’s father, Joseph Suozzi, died Monday.
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.