Dave Mejias, a former county legislator who was making his bid as a candidate for the 6th Senate District seat, dropped out of the primary race Thursday morning.
The announcement came about a week after police arrested the 39-year-old Democrat for allegedly stalking and menacing his ex-girlfriend. During a mid-morning news conference at Bethpage State Park in Farmingdale, Mejias, surrounded by some 20 supporters, friends and family members, told reporters he is no longer going to pursue political office.
"The voters deserve a real debate on the issues," Mejias said. "My continued candidacy would replace a meaningful debate about the future of our great state with distraction and sensationalism. Long Island deserves better."
Mejias went on to say he stands behind his former Democratic primary opponent Francesca Carlow and encouraged others to support her in the general election against Garden City Republican Sen. Kemp Hannon.
The New York State Democratic Senate Campaign Committee announced earlier this week that it is endorsing Carlow.
Although he would not discuss details of the alleged domestic violence incident that landed him in jail, Mejias went on to say the following:
Out of respect for all the parties involved, I will not be discussing the details of the Sept. 1 incident. However, I do want to set the record straight regarding some erroneous reports on the incident:
1. This was a brief verbal dispute in which there was no physical injury, no physical contact, and no property damage.
2. This was completely a chance encounter during which no one was run off the road or chased out of their car.
3. This brief verbal dispute involved a business dispute, nothing else.
Any inference that this incident involved domestic violence is categorically wrong. All of that said, I deeply regret what happened. I said some hurtful and even immature things and for that I am sincerely sorry.