Nassau County, N.Y., Republicans are going to have try again: Mark Schimel, estranged husband of Assemblywoman Michelle Schimel, a three-term Democrat, has declined the nomination to oppose her.
Mark Schimel, 57, was nominated last week as the Republican standard bearer in New York's 16th Assembly District, where Democrats hold an overwhelming lead in party enrollment.
He moved out of the family home on Baker Hill Road in affluent Great Neck last year and is now estranged from his wife of 32 years.
The nomination raised eyebrows and generated a lot of talk over the weekend. On Tuesday, Schimel, who works for Indian services provider Infosys (Nasdaq: INFY), sent a letter declining nomination.
The media's proclivity for sensationalizing the news had obscured any effort to have an honest debate about issues, Schimel wrote on Tuesday to Town of North Hempstead Republican leader Frank Moroney, a perennial candidate who holds a patronage job with Nassau County Comptroller George Maragos.
A spokeswoman for Michelle Schimel, 54, in her Great Neck district office declined comment. This is a government office, she said. Questions about the campaign have to be handled by the campaign manager.
The assemblywoman's campaign manager wasn't available in her New York office.
Michelle Schimel won the seat easily in a 2007 special election after Assemblman Thomas P. DiNapoli was elected New York State Comptroller by the state Legislature after the forced resignation of Alan Hevesi.
The ebullient former physical therapist won her last re-election in 2010 with 58 percent of the vote. Previously, she'd been elected twice as clerk of the Town of North Hempstead.
Last year, Michelle Schimel voted against the property tax cap proposed by Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo that easily passed in Albany.
On Tuesday, New York State residents outside cities are voting on school and library budgets that by law are required to abide by the cap. It sets the maximum hike in property tax at 2 percent or the rate of inflation, whichever is less.
In his withdrawal, Schimel's husband charged Democrats are frightened by the fact that the taxpayers ... will learn that the incumbent assemblymember voted against it.
Earlier, Democratic Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver had condemned the Mark Schimel nomination. If all they can do is some personal gimmick, they are in sad shape, he said.