Bellmorite to challenge Rice for congressional seat


A retired Nassau County corrections officer will challenge two-term Congresswoman Kathleen Rice for her 4 th District seat in the June Democratic Primary.

Bob Shanlin, 60, of Bellmore, said that he has been a “political junkie” for his entire life, and is running to the left of Rice, who he claimed, in an interview on Monday, is really a Republican, when it comes to her voting record.

Shanlin, who was a registered independent until 2016, when he registered as a Democrat in order to vote for Sen. Bernie Sanders, against Hillary Clinton, in the Presidential Primary has pledged to run without any campaign contributions.

The United States has become “a semi-democracy, with legalized bribery as a form of government,” Shanlin said. “I’m not taking any money from anyone. Everyone’s telling me it’s impossible to win that way, but I want to prove them wrong.”

Shanlin grew up in Brooklyn, and has lived in Oceanside, Long Beach, Levittown, East Meadow and Bellmore, where he lives now. He said that, in his 25 years as a correction officer, he saw many troubling things both within labor unions and in the interests pitted against them, that, along with the election of President Donald Trump, energized him further to run.

“My country was conquered by the Russians and the Republicans,” Shanlin said, of Trump’s election. “Enemies foreign and domestic.”

Although he has never spoken with Rice, Shanlin said that he has attended town hall meetings where the congresswoman spoke, and has watched her voting record closely.

Shanlin called Rice “an opportunist,” who “votes with the Republicans more often than not,” and collects millions of dollars from special interests. Shanlin pointed to what he called Rice’s “flip” on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and took issue with her stance on gun control.

Shanlin would, if elected, be a champion of renewable energy, he said, claiming that, if nothing is done about global warming, “Long Beach is going to become a short beach, and then an underwater sand bar.”

“We need to get off the grid, not build a smart grid,” he said. “We need a Manhattan Project for clean renewables.”

Rice’s spokesman Coleman Lamb, in a statement on Tuesday, said, “Congresswoman Rice is proud to run for re-election on her record of putting her constituents first and fighting for Long Island priorities in Washington.”

The state and national Democratic Primary will be held on June 26.