Nassau County Democratic Chairman Jay Jacobs announced today that he will not pick a favorite from among the candidates vying for retiring Rep. Carolyn McCarthy’s seat, and urged party committee members to back whomever they feel is the strongest contender to win in the November general election.

Jacobs wrote the following email to county committee members, and also released it to members of the press:

“Dear County Committee Member:”

“As you know, there is the possibility of a primary contest for the Democratic nomination for Congress in the 4th CD. As both candidates have deep roots in the County Committee and both are long-serving public officials who have run on our Party’s line multiple times, I have decided NOT to take a position in this race, should there be one.”

“Accordingly, I leave it to each member of the Committee to make their own judgment and support the candidate of their choosing.”

Nassau County DA Kathleen Rice is widely viewed as the frontrunner in race for the Democratic line, and she has been endorsed by McCarthy, who is opting not to seek re-election due to health concerns.

Rice’s decision to run may have caused other Democrats to think twice about throwing their respective hats into the ring. But Nassau legislative Minority Leader Kevan Abrahams remains interested, He’s raising money to see if he can fund a campaign.

DCCC Chairman Steve Israel, who hails from Long Island, has said he hopes there won’t be a primary, but in the event that there is one, he urged candidates to avoid going negative and focus their criticism for the Republicans.

On the GOP side, Bruce Blakeman, the former presiding officer of the Nassau County Legislature, has announced his intention to seek McCarthy’s seat. Blakeman also ran an unsuccessful bid for the US Senate in 2010, finishing dead last in a three-way Republican primary, and an unsuccessful campaign for state comptroller in 1998.

Blakeman is an attractive candidate to the Republicans due to his local name recognition and ability to self fund. He already has the support of Rep. Pete King, but he’s facing a potential primary battle with New Hyde Park attorney Frank Scaturro.

Petitioning for congressional races starts next week, thanks to the court-ordered June primary date for House races.