By William Lewis

On June 26, a statewide primary election will occur in which registered Republican Party members will choose their candidate to oppose U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.). The three candidates are attorney Wendy Long, Nassau County Comptroller George Maragos and U.S. Rep. Robert Turner (R-Middle Village).

One critical factor in this race is that Long has the Conservative Party’s endorsement. As previously reported, she received 91 percent of the delegate vote at the Conservative Party state convention. Her two opponents received 9 percent of the vote between them. At that convention, a resolution was passed giving Long 100 percent of the delegates’ vote.

The campaign itself has seen Long emerge as a powerful public speaker focusing on conservative values. She has been drawing large crowds at Republican organizations around the state, in addition to speaking before Tea Party groups.

In a recent interview, I asked her what the reception of her audience has been like. She indicated they were exciting, positive and sincere. She was impressed with their depth of knowledge and concern about the fate of America.

Long has indicated that her first priority in office would be to introduce legislation to eliminate the Obama medical plan. She will, as a secondary legislative priority, introduce legislation to cap and reduce the national debt.

When asked how her background prepared her for the Senate, she replied that she is familiar with all three branches of government. She has worked for the Senate and the U.S. Supreme Court.

Regarding her views on what programs should be implemented to help returning military veterans, she indicated the country should provide job opportunities through a strong economy.

Long served on former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney’s campaign staff four years ago. She believes that during that time she became acquainted with some of the most important issues of our time. Long has taken a strong interest in the type of judges who should be appointed to the federal courts. She believes they should have a proven record of judicial restraint.

Long believes the main differences between her and Gillibrand are that her opponent supports big government and an economic policy of continuous taxing and spending. Long opposes these concepts.

Regarding U.S. foreign policy toward Israel, Long said Israel is our greatest ally in the Middle East and we should stand by it. She believes that is especially true regarding our initiatives to keep Iran from developing nuclear weapons. She indicated all efforts must be made to keep Iran from developing weapons of mass destruction.

Long, in regards to her Republican primary opponents, said her campaign is more of a grassroots effort from the standpoint of her having constant speaking engagements and meeting voters directly.

When asked as a senator how she would help the state with its economic problems, she said she intended to work on cutting taxes, reducing over-regulation and cutting federal spending.

Long said her Conservative Party endorsement has been a big help to her. If she wins the Republican primary, Long will be running as the Republican and Conservative candidate.

Long has during the past recent weeks built up a considerable base of support, but the final task before the primary is to get out the vote and make sure her base of voters turns into strong vote totals.

An increasing number of political observers believe Long would be the strongest of the three Republican candidates for the Senate to face Gillibrand in the fall general election.

There has not been a Republican in the Senate from New York since 1998, but 2012 promises to be an eventful political year at the local, state and national levels as the election cycles unfold.

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