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Primary Field for CD 1 Widens

Thu, 09/09/2021 - 12:15

The race to succeed Representative Lee Zeldin in New York's First Congressional District has become a crowded one, with two new Democratic candidates and the first declared Republican to throw his hat into the ring.

Austin C. Smith and Nicholas Antonucci, both Democrats, have announced their candidacies.

Mr. Smith, an attorney, previously served on Hillary Clinton's education policy working group and as an election lawyer for Mrs. Clinton's presidential campaign in 2016. He also served as an aide to the late Senator John McCain, according to his campaign's website. At present he serves as managing partner of Smith Law Group LLP, which "discovered how to erase student loans for more than a million debtors in bankruptcy," it says on his website.

Mr. Antonucci has devoted his professional life to teaching in public schools and at Suffolk Community College. He is a member of several labor unions.

Another Democratic candidate, John Rogers Atkinson IV, has withdrawn from the race. Mr. Atkinson, a Farmingville native who is employed by Independent Support Services, which works with developmentally disabled people, has endorsed Suffolk County Legislator Kara Hahn, a Democrat of the Fifth Legislative District.

As of yesterday, neither Mr. Smith nor Mr. Antonucci had responded to messages seeking comment.

Mr. Zeldin, who is serving his fourth term in the House of Representatives, is the Republican Party's presumed nominee for governor of New York, with the election in November of next year.

County Legislator Bridget Fleming of Sag Harbor, a Democrat who represents the Second Legislative District and was a late candidate for the nomination in 2020, jumped into the 2022 race early.

Robert Cornicelli, a supervisor of Department of Public Works inspectors in the Town of Oyster Bay, is to date the only declared candidate for the Republican Party's nomination to succeed Mr. Zeldin.


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