Eleven votes separated them, but Republican candidate for the 3rd Congressional District Stephen Labate conceded Tuesday to the victor, Grant Lally.
The state Board of Elections certified the victory last Thursday, following a court battle over absentee ballots. At the time, Labate, a financial planner from Deer Park, LI, said he would seek a recount because of the small difference in votes.
But on Tuesday he changed his mind and offered the following statement: “A prolonged legal battle would be damaging to the Republican Party and would only benefit Congressman Steve Israel. The goal now is to defeat Congressman Israel in November and I wish my opponent luck in achieving this goal.”
Labate ran against Israel two years ago.
Lally, an attorney from Lloyds Harbor, LI, ran for the seat in 1994 and 1996 and was defeated by then-Congressman Gary Ackerman. Since then, the area has been redistricted and now takes in a part of northern Queens including Douglaston, Whitestone, Little Neck and Floral Park, as well as parts of Nassau and Suffolk counties.
In the primary, Lally received 3,439 votes and Labate 3,428. But in Queens, Labate was the winner. He took the Nassau and Queens portions of the district, with a total of 1,981 votes to Lally’s 1,778 votes, according to the State Board of Elections.
The Queens vote for Labate was 381 while Lally garnered 367.
“I am honored to have won the Republican nomination for United States Congress and look forward winning in November,” Lally said in a prepared statement. “We need to bring the kind of change — lowering taxes, creating economic opportunity, replacing Obamacare, protecting our seniors and veterans and ending destructive politically-targeted government regulations and audits — to free our economy and bring growth and prosperity to our country and our district.”
He also took the opportunity to snipe at his Democratic opponent, the veteran Congressman Israel. “I’m excited to have the opportunity to run against Barack Obama’s chief campaign operative, Steve Israel. Steve Israel has become the quintessential Washington insider, spending more time fundraising around the country than legislating.
“I’m running for Congress because I want to fight for the people of Queens and the North Shore. It is time to change our representation and I’m the candidate to do it,” Lally added.