Republican challenger Stephen Labate said this week that he will continue his fight to unseat Rep. Steve Israel, D-Dix Hills, despite being pushed out of the Second District.
New maps drawn by judicial mandate on Monday mean Labate's Deer Park home is no longer in the district he wants to represent. He originally challenged Israel for his Second District seat but when lines were redrawn, Israel's district became the Third District. Labate's house will be in the Second District, which will become the seat occupied by U.S. Rep. Peter King, a Seaford Republican.
Members of Congress are not required to live in the district they represent. The Constitution simply requires that the individual must "be an Inhabitant of that State in which he shall be chosen."
Labate said, "Redistricting is incredibly beneficial to my campaign. The demographics are better and Steve Israel is an unknown quantity now in three quarters of his district." He added that he is not concerned about establishing himself in the newly included areas.
"I already have a substantial footprint in Nassau County," he said. "I've developed relationships with a lot of the Republican clubs out there well before this because I was trying to become a regional candidate."
The Suffolk Republican and Conservative Committees have already endorsed Labate, an Army veteran and current financial planner, who said Wednesday that further endorsements from several major players are imminent. "Now they can participate, not just because they realize the importance that Steve Israel impacts their congressional races in Nassau and in NYC."
Regardless of where he runs, Labate said he's confident that his message will resonate with voters. "We can't spend money we don't have, we cannot hinder small business owners and job creators to the point where they cannot create new jobs, but also that we cannot have elected officials who say one thing when they're in the district for the consumption of the constituency but then when they go to Washington they do the total opposite."