Setauket’s Kara Hahn suspends congressional campaign

Setauket’s Kara Hahn suspends congressional campaign

Suffolk County Legislator Kara Hahn formally announced her bid for Congress at a June 2 event at the Three Village Inn. Photo by Rita J. Egan

Suffolk County Legislator Kara Hahn (D-Setauket) suspended her campaign to run for Congress. She made the announcement in an email to supporters May 22.

Hahn told TBR News Media it wasn’t an easy decision. “But, I am confident it is the right one,” she said. “Too much is at stake now, this is bigger than me.”

Hahn announced her bid to run for New York’s 1st Congressional District in June last year. The former deputy presiding officer of the county Legislature was set to run against fellow Suffolk Legislator Bridget Fleming (D-Noyac) in a primary for the Democratic nomination. U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin (R) has held the seat since 2015. The congressman is currently campaigning for this year’s Republican nomination for New York State governor.

In the May 22 email, Hahn said she will be uniting behind Fleming.

“I may no longer be on the ballot, but I will not be on the sidelines,” Hahn said. “Our democracy and most fundamental rights are all at stake. In order to combat the dark forces that threaten these values, unity is extremely important right now. In that spirit, I look forward to getting back on the trail and I hope you will join me in support of Democrats up and down the ballot.”

Fleming filed her Certificate of Designation on May 23, according to her office. She is currently the only Democratic candidate in the congressional district.

In thanking Hahn “for running a great race,” in a statement Fleming said, “Kara has been a model public servant with an extraordinary work ethic and commitment to bettering the lives of Long Islanders. I look forward to continuing to work with her in the county Legislature.”

Due to changes in certain districts, some primaries, including the ones for Congress, will be held Aug. 23, which Hahn felt would leave Democrats divided too close to the November elections. Suffolk County Democratic Committee chairman Rich Schaffer, in a statement, said the committee appreciated Hahn’s “hard fought campaign” and decision.

“Kara has a great future, and we look forward to her continuing to serve the residents of Suffolk County,” he said. “Toward that end, with the primary moving back, we appreciate that Kara has put her own interests aside and chose for unity, backing Bridget Fleming in her race for Congress. There is no time for interparty fighting and we’re all ready to get behind Bridget to ensure she is the next representative for the 1st Congressional District.”

Hahn won her sixth term as county legislator last November. This will be her last two-year term in the Suffolk County Legislature due to term limits.

Post updated May 25 to include comments from Rich Schaffer.