05/14/2012 05:06 pm ET Updated May 15, 2012

Michelle Schimel Challenged By Estranged Husband Mark Schimel In New York Assembly Race

Michelle Schimel, a New York assemblywoman who is running for her fourth term, is all too familiar with her opponent in this fall's election.

Schimel, a Democrat who represents the 16th Assembly district in New York, will be challenged by her husband, Mark Schimel, who was selected by the Nassau County GOP to be the party's nominee in November's election. According to ABC News, he was chosen over two other potential candidates.

The Schimels, who have been married for 32 years and have two children, are separated but not legally divorced.

Frank Moroney, who serves as chairman of the North Hempstead Republican Committee, defended Mark Schimel's candidacy, stating that Schimel's decision to run had nothing to do with his relationship with his wife.

“He had the plan and the interest, and we made sure that everybody knows him," Moroney told ABC. "We weren’t looking for a circus. We weren’t looking for a sideshow."

However, Michelle Schimel sees the situation quite differently.

"This is a very painful and personal family matter," she said in a statement. "The Republican Party is taking advanatge of it and manipulating the political process. They are using it as an opportunity to drag my personal life into the public."

The assemblywoman has held her seat since 2007, when she was elected to replace Thomas DiNapoli, who left office to become New York state comptroller. At least one person expects her to hold on to her seat -- Mark Schimel's mother, Irma.

"He’ll never win anything against Michelle,” Irma Schimel told the Daily News. "They [the voters] love her."

She also expressed disappointment in her son's choice to run.

“I can’t believe he’d do a thing like this," she said. "I’m going to talk to him.”