Grant Lally, the Nassau County lawyer seeking to unseat Rep. Steve Israel (D-Suffolk, Nassau, Queens) in the third congressional district, may have cleared the first hurdle.
Lally, who is backed by the Conservative and Libertarian parties, was certified by the state Board of Elections as the winner of the Republican primary Tuesday over his opponent Steven Labate.
“I’m grateful to all the voters who came out and supported me in this election,” Lally said in a statement Tuesday. “And I am proud to have united the Republican, Conservative, and Libertarian Parties behind one candidate, to give our voters on the north shore a clear choice for the better this year.”
But Labate, of Suffolk County, did not concede, saying through a spokeswoman that only about a dozen votes separate the two, with some still out in Nassau County.
“Once again Grant Lally is jumping the gun in declaring victory as we still have 25 votes that are yet to be counted,” Labate spokeswoman Elizabeth Hagan said Tuesday.
Lally, who ran for Congress twice against former Rep. Gary Ackerman, was ahead of Labate, the 2012 nominee, by only 110 votes out of 6,300 cast after the June 26 primary. More than 500 absentee votes have since been counted in the district, which stretches from Huntington in Suffolk County to the Bronx-Whitestone Bridge and includes the Queens neighborhoods of Whitestone, Bay Terrace, Douglaston, Floral Park and Bellerose.
Lally had been defending former Queens GOP Vice Chair Vince Tabone in his corruption trial stemming from an alleged scheme to get Democratic state Sen. Malcolm Smith on the Republican ballot for mayor last year.