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Seventh Senate District Race Gains A Challenger

Democrat Daniel Ross to face-off with incumbent Jack Martins for state senate seat

A relatively unknown has surfaced, igniting a battle for New York’s  7th Senate District seat, five months before Election Day.

Instead of putting a known opponent on the Democratic ticket, the Nassau County Democratic Party nabbed Daniel Ross. Ross, an automobile sales manager who recently ran for commissioner of the Manhasset-Lakeville Water and Fire District, will oppose Senator Jack Martins in the November election. Ross lost the race for commissioner last year to Andrew DeMartin.

In 2010, the district saw a hotly contested senate race between then-Senator Craig Johnson and Martins, who served as Mineola mayor at the time.

Martins won the election by a 451-vote margin in a highly Democratic district. The victory was challenged in a recount and seemingly unending court battles. Martins’ narrow win decided the senate majority, giving Republicans a 32-30 tilt in the senate chamber in Albany.

“Senator Martins has worked well with Governor Cuomo and his colleagues on both sides of the aisle to bring positive change to New York State,” said Joseph Rizza, a Martins spokesperson. “By working together, the legislature and the executive were able to balance the state budget without raising any taxes and fees as well as eliminate the MTA payroll tax for millions of businesses and all schools. Senator Martins will run on his record of accomplishment and his proven ability to work in a bipartisan manner for the good of the residents.”

Ross did not respond to Anton Newspapers’ calls for comment as of press time.

Republicans noted that Democrats approached at least a half dozen candidates about challenging Martins, though Democrats said that’s normal for legislative races.

“Nothing atypical,” said Senator Michael Gianaris (D-Queens), chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. “In every district there are several prospects and the party ends up deciding on the best one. In this case, that was Dan.”

Gianaris is confident in Ross, indicating that his commitment to Nassau County and the 7th Senate District made him the logical choice.

“We’re excited about Dan Ross as a candidate. “We’ve met with him on several occasions at this point. He is someone who has dedicated his life to Nassau County and to his community.”

State Republican representatives feel that although Martins represents a mostly Democratic district, the lack of coming up with a big name on the ticket speaks volumes to Martins’ place in the upcoming election.

“I don’t think there was a lack of trying to get a big name on the ticket,” Republican spokesman Scott Reif said. “I think the Democrats did seek out several different candidates for the seat and they’re way down the bench right now. [Ross] is an unknown. We just don’t believe that he’s a credible candidate and that he’ll be able to unseat Senator Martins. He’s had a strong record since he’s been in office, working with Governor Cuomo and Senate Republicans to control spending and help create jobs.”

Reif stated that Martins has “done nothing but work hard for his constituents. That’s why he’s going to be re-elected.”

Since being elected, Martins has restored state grants promised by Johnson that were either rescinded or left in limbo by the former Senate Democratic majority after Martins was declared the victor. He has also reached across the aisle to co-sponsor legislation with Assemblywoman Michelle Schimel to bring back lever voting machines for local elections and worked to repeal the MTA payroll tax on libraries.

“He’s going to run a full-fledged, fully funded campaign, that will involve both social media outlets as well as on the ground, grassroots activity,” Gianaris said of Ross. “This will be substantial, door-to-door communication with voters in the community and at events. We expect successful fundraising efforts.”