Two Republicans will fight it out at the polls in Tuesday’s primary in hopes of replacing veteran Congressman Steve Israel of the 3rd District.
Stephen Labate, 46, a financial planner from Deer Park, LI, who lost to Israel two years ago with 41.6 percent of the vote, will face Grant Lally, 52, a lawyer from Lloyd Harbor, LI.
The district covers much of Suffolk and Nassau counties and northeast Queens, including Douglaston, Little Neck, Whitestone and Floral Park.
Both men have been called conservatives. Labate is a 25-year Army veteran and a lieutenant colonel in the Army Reserves, having served in the Iraq war.
Both candidates favor lower taxes, want Obamacare repealed and new jobs created.
In a debate recently in Whitestone, Labate called the national debt “a burden that will be on our children and grandchildren,” adding that he believes “this generation of Americans is not guaranteed a better future,” which he called “unconscionable.”
Labate believes in securing U.S. borders, calling it a security issue, while Lally is a hawk on immigration, saying he doesn’t believe in open borders or amnesty.
Lally opposed former Congressman Gary Ackerman twice, in 1994 and 1996, losing by 11 percent the first time and 35 percent two years later. In 1998, he agreed to pay a fine of $280,000 to the Federal Election Commission for accepting illegal campaign donations from his family and lying about it. It was one of the largest fines in FEC history.
Lally and his wife run a law firm in Mineola and are representing Vince Tabone, a former Queens Republican Party deputy party chairman now on trial for accepting bribes in a federal case involving state Sen. Malcolm Smith (D-Hollis) and former Councilman Dan Halloran of Whitestone.
Lally has cited his experience in the party, saying he helped advise the George W. Bush administration on Irish issues as well as worked with Senate Republicans. His mother is retired state Supreme Court Justice Ute Lally.
The winner will face Israel in November. He was first elected in 2000 and serves as chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.