Anthony Coates, political adviser to Republican Supervisor Sean Walter, confirmed on Thursday that he filed paperwork at the Suffolk County Board of Elections to change his registration from Democrat to Republican, prompting speculation that he may run a primary against incumbent Republican councilmembers in 2013.
The change doesn’t take effect until seven days after the 2012 general election in November, but will be in effect in time for Mr. Coates to possibly be a Republican candidate in the 2013 town elections.
“I am interested in being active in campaign 2013,” Mr. Coates said in an interview. “What that means, we shall see.”
All five current Town Board members are Republicans.
The terms held by incumbent Councilwoman Jodi Giglio and Councilman John Dunleavy are up for reelection in 2013.
Mr. Coates recently wrote an op-ed piece in the News-Review that criticized Ms. Giglio and incumbent Republican Councilman Jim Wooten for their criticism of the way permits were handled for the J. Kings agricultural processing facility proposed for Sound Avenue in Baiting Hollow.
Mr. Coates also has accompanied Mr. Walter on several lobbying trips to Albany.
Both of those moves created rankles with some Republicans, who felt Mr. Coates shouldn’t travel in the town vehicle and shouldn’t publicly criticize other board members if he’s going to represent the town.
Mr. Walter at one point was seen screaming and cursing at Ms. Giglio following a board meeting, in part about this issue, a move for which he has publicly apologized.
The supervisor says Mr. Coates is very valuable to the town because he knows a lot of people in state government and elsewhere.
Earlier this year, he proposed hiring Mr. Coates to a $65,000 one-year job as “legislative secretary,” to work on getting a proposed commission to fast-track development in Albany approved. The majority of the Town Board voted down that position, however.
Ms. Giglio expressed surprise when told of Mr. Coates’ registration change. She said she intends to run for reelection.