While Nassau County Legislator Francis Becker has a primary battle to win against Frank Scaturro on June 26, the Republican legislator said he is already looking ahead to facing Rep. Carolyn McCarthy in the race for the 4th Congressional District in the November election.
“I’m very confident in the race. I won the primary last time. I came within six points of beating Carolyn McCarthy last time,” Becker said. “I’m really the best candidate to beat Carolyn McCarthy.”
In November 2010, Becker drew 46 percent of the vote to McCarthy’s 52 percent.
But with the eastern geographic shift in the district to include Wantagh, Bellmore and Merrick, Becker thinks the political dynamics are shifting in a district that still includes New Hyde Park, Floral Park, the Willistons, Mineola, Garden City, Rockville Centre, Franklin Square, Westbury, East Meadow, Freeport, Oceanside and Long Beach. While the district retains a Democratic plurality, Becker said his chances are better in the redrawn district.
Becker said the June primary date is also a welcome difference from the September primary in 2010, giving him more time to campaign against McCarthy.
Becker acknowledged that he still has a $25,000 debt from his 2010 campaign and doesn’t have a large campaign war chest available for the primary. He declined to put a precise figure on how much money he has on hand, but said he was working to increase the total.
“I’m having fundraisers every day,” he said.
But Beck said he does not feel he faces much of a threat from Scaturro, who finished second to Becker in a three-way primary in 2010 that included Tea Party candidate Daniel Maloney.
“I have no idea why he’s running, why he’s not supporting me against Carolyn McCarthy,” Becker said, calling Scaturro “self-centered” in his primary challenge.
As in 2010, Becker is the choice of the Nassau County Republican Party and will also run on the Conservative line. Scaturro has acknowledged he is the dark horse, but said he is willing to “swim upstream” against influences on both sides of the Congressional aisle.
On the issues, the two Republican primary candidates don’t significantly diverge. Both men say they would vote to repeal “Obamacare” if elected. Both see entitlement programs putting a potentially disastrous strain on the economy. Both candidates say the U.S. needs to continue staunch support of Israel.
Becker cites his experience serving 10 consecutive terms in the county Legislature as a crucial difference between he and Scaturro. The 6th District Becker represents in the county Legislature covers southwest Nassau County including Lynbrook, Malverne, North Lynbrook, most of Valley Stream and East Rockaway, south Rockville Centre and portions of North Valley Stream and Oceanside.
“The problem with the health-care mandate is it’s going to make the problem of national spending even worse. It compounds the spending problem,” said Becker, who cited one recent study that put the “Obamacare” price tag at $340 billion. “In my view, it’s an attempt to create national health care .”
Becker, who runs his own financial planning services company, sets a high priority on balancing the federal budget.
“It’s clear that we’re overspending. The most important thing is to balance our budget,” he said.
Becker said means testing should be introduced for those who become eligible to receive Social Security and Medicare benefits.
“Right now, we’re an entitlement nation,” he said. “The government keeps making promises it can’t keep. You have to address these issues that are popular or unpopular.”
Becker said he supports the legislation drafted by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) passed by the House of Representatives last month that would cut $83 billion in federal retirement benefits, cap medical malpractice lawsuits, slash about $48 billion from Medicaid programs and cut food aid by more than $36 billion.
He said he also signed the Grover Norquist pledge to not raise taxes last year and will sign it again this year. He said he would not raise taxes to balance the budget, calling it “a job-killer.”
Becker said he also sees a need to “streamline” the federal tax code “so it’s more understandable and more fair.”
He said military spending is the last place anyone should look to cut the budget in light of continued threats from other nations.
“That’s the prime responsibility of government, to protect its people,” Becker said.
Along with failing to effectively address economic issues, Becker said President Barack Obama’s administration has played too weak a hand in foreign policy.
“We certainly don’t have a real and strong foreign policy in the world,” Becker said. “We see people challenging us now instead of seeing us as the superpower we once were.”
He said there is a need for a renewed and consistent commitment to U.S. support for Israel, criticizing the administration “running hot and cold on Israel.”
“Our alliance is not only a strategic one but also a spiritual one,” Becker said, adding that Israel needs to know the U.S. will support it against terrorist or nuclear threats.
In a campaign against McCarthy, Becker would seek to hold the incumbent Democrat responsible for the Obama administration’s actions.
“After the failed policies of the administration, she has to be held accountable,” Becker said. “She doesn’t reflect the values and the concerns of her constituents.”