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Update: McCarthy Will Not Seek Reelection

Citing health concerns, nine-term congresswoman will not run in 2014.

Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy. Photo credit: Courtesy Office of Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy
Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy. Photo credit: Courtesy Office of Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy

Originally published Jan. 8 at 2:04 p.m.

After nearly two decades in the United States Congress, Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, D-Mineola, announced Wednesday that she will not seek another term.

Born in Brooklyn, the 70-year old Congresswoman had recently been undergoing treatment for lung cancer and cited ongoing health issues as one of the driving factors for her decision.

“I have decided not to seek re-election to the United States Congress in 2014,” McCarthy said in a statement. “I am forever grateful to my constituents for giving me the privilege of representing them in Congress for the past 18 years.  As I plan for the next chapter of my life, I look forward to resuming my role as a citizen activist for the causes and principles that are so close to my heart.”

McCarthy initially came to prominence in the public arena as a gun control advocate following the shooting at the Merrillon Avenue Long Island Rail Road station in December 1993 that took the lives of six people, including her husband, Dennis, and severely wounded 19, including her son, Kevin.

Following a vote by then-Rep. Dan Frisa, a Republican, to repeal an assault weapons ban, McCarthy switched parties, entering the political area as a Democratic candidate, even though she was still registered as a GOP voter, winning by 57 to 40 percent. She has maintained her seat as the representative for the Fourth Congressional district ever since, defeating Republican challengers by wide margins. Most recent challengers included two runs from Nassau County legislator Francis X. Becker and Frank Scaturro in 2010 and 2012 and current NY State Sen. Jack Martins in 2008.

Though McCarthy worked as a nurse and campaigned on platforms for healthcare and education, McCarthy is often cited for her work in the field of gun control. She has said that her work on the National Instant Background Check Improvements Act of 2007, signed into law under President George W. Bush, was one of her biggest achievements. Developed in the wake of the Virginia Tech shootings, the law closes loopholes that had previously allowed the mentally ill to purchase and procure weapons.

“I am very proud of the many accomplishments my colleagues and I have achieved, and am grateful to my family, my staff and all the countless volunteers and supporters with whom I have worked during my time in office,” McCarthy said. “The most important goal for any elected official is to help make residents’ lives better than they were, and as I enter my last year in office, I hope that together we continue to achieve that goal.”

Other Long Island representatives on both sides of the aisle were quick to react to McCarthy’s announcement.

“Carolyn McCarthy is not only a colleague, but also a dear friend and fellow Long Islander,” Rep. Steve Israel, D-Huntington, said in a statement. “Carolyn leaves a legacy of standing up for Long Island families, advocating for the safety of our children and fighting for critical gun safety legislation. She will be deeply missed.”

"Despite our political differences we always stood together for what was good for New York and good for Long Island," reacted Rep. Peter King, R-Seaford. "Carolyn McCarthy was a hard-working, conscientious member of Congress and a good friend. I commend her for her service. I wish her much good luck and I wish her nothing but good health in the future."

McCarthy has not endorsed any successor for her Congressional seat but has said that she plans to continue her activism for gun control when she leaves Capitol Hill.

Christine Fennes January 08, 2014 at 02:26 PM
Yahoo!!!!!! We don't need the opportunists in Washington anymore. PLEASE can we have a candidate that says what they will attempt and then DOES it! That way when we vote for them and maybe we can get someone who is working for the people who voted them in, not themselves and their beltway status! And let it be someone who has held a job!!!!!
Concerned citizen January 08, 2014 at 02:59 PM
Thank you Mrs.McCarthy for your 18 years of dedication to helping make our lives safer. I admired and applauded you for taking on such a huge task after such a horrific family tragedy. Not many if us would be able to do what you did. I thank you for it and pray the next phase of your life unfolds in a positive light. God bless you.
Gina Genti January 08, 2014 at 04:10 PM
Hoping she has a successful and speedy recovery.
Douglas Mortimer January 08, 2014 at 07:56 PM
I wonder if Ms. McCarthy ever reflects on what her life would have been like if NYS had made it easier for law abiding citizens to carry guns. Maybe Ferguson would not have been the only one with a gun on that train. Maybe someone would have shot Ferguson before he murdered all those people. Now Ms. McCarthy can focus on her pending lawsuits against asbestos manufacturers. (Disregarding the fact that she smoked for forty years.) Talk about the ultimate opportunist!
Brian January 08, 2014 at 10:40 PM
As long as we don't get Michelle Bachmann the second, aka Fran Becker, as a replacement. Fortunately, his estimation of his chances of a successful run are far greater than reality.
Douglas Mortimer January 09, 2014 at 07:51 AM
I'd be proud to have Michele Bachmann represent me. Fran Becker will do, however. You may be right about his, or any Republican's chances of winning. I've worked as a poll watcher in Uniondale and Hempstead. The ballot form could be upside down, and all the voters know is to check across the top line. Most have no idea for whom they are voting. I've had to intercede in several instances when the voter would ask the poll worker how the new form works, and the worker would go to row "A" and tell them to "just check the boxes right along here." Probably innocent, but it works out for the Dems.
Brian January 09, 2014 at 06:00 PM
You have a lot of audacity to suggest what you have Douglas. Given the stunts the Nassau GOP has pulled over the years at polling places in this county, its disgraceful you would try to flip the script, so to speak.
Douglas Mortimer January 09, 2014 at 07:50 PM
It appears that I have raised your righteous indignation, Brian. I don't think I "suggested" anything. I spelled out pretty clearly what I had seen with my own eyes. I did post that it was probably innocent. When I pointed it out to the poll workers involved (4 IIRC), each said they were not aware of what they were doing, apologized, and said they would be more careful. Was I wrong to believe them? It's not like they were standing in front of the polling place, in uniform, with batons, making threats! What did you see with your own eyes, Brian?
Christine Fennes January 09, 2014 at 10:19 PM
Hey Brian, Check out the story after the 2012 election about the POLL WORKER who voted up to 8 times! An absentee ballot for her AND her granddaughter and in person for both and four other friends. And what about the 57 counties in PA that went 100% of the votes went for Obama. Even Lanny Davis couldn't defend that bunk. Tried to and stopped and laughed and admitted it was mathematically IMPOSSIBLE! Go Fran Becker, I (unlike many of my Dem. friends) will look into your past actions and future promises and make an educated decision. So please be honest and ethical!
Brian January 10, 2014 at 02:36 AM
Douglas, or should I say Elliot Ness? If you want to be a poll monitor become an attorney and officially register to be one. If you already are an attorney, then register; Otherwise, I don't care what you apparently "saw" - its nothing more than hearsay. Christine, the discussion taking place here is in reference to what occurs in Nassau County. If you want to rant about our communist/marxist/devil president, go to faux news and you will be welcomed with open arms.
Christine Fennes January 10, 2014 at 11:05 AM
What a witty guy, I'm sure it's a play on Fox. Get your head out of the sand. Whether it is happening in Nassau County or Ohio or Palm Beach county (where more than 100% of registered voters voted) it says a lot about why the country, towns and counties are moving in an opposite way to what the citizens want. And whether you like them or not, Fox and Rush and Levine, etc. are the only places where you can get honest reporting BECAUSE there are people who spend their whole time (paid for or not) listening and verifying- in an attempt to catch these reporters and talk show hosts in a lie or totally erroneous statement- every little hiccup and syllable coming out of these stations. They totally miss the lies that are being spread, or misinformation being distributed, or news that is being ignored by the other networks. That said, I'm done with responses. Have way too much work to do than to sit around and try to chip through the concrete around many liberals heads. Have a great weekend:)
Douglas Mortimer January 10, 2014 at 06:29 PM
Brian, You don't know what you are talking about! You don't need to be an attorney to be a poll monitor. After taking a short course given by the Nassau County Attorney, I was officially registered as one, and had to show my paperwork when I showed up at a polling place. It would be heresay if I told you that my friend, Louie, saw what I related to you. Or, if you were telling me what you read in Newsday. I am giving you a first hand account. If you choose not to believe it, that's fine with me. Check your talking points. I believe it's time for you to call someone a racist.
Brian January 11, 2014 at 05:19 PM
Douglas - And why "is it time for me to call someone a racist"? Race has nothing to do with what we we're talking about and wasn't on my mind. Obviously it was on yours, however. Christine - Keep living in your bubble and Republicans will keep losing national elections. Better yet, lets talk about Benghazi... or the "War on Christmas"... or Monica Lewinsky... or EVEN BETTER, WHITEWATER!

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