GOP, Democrats fail to give Assembly nods

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05/22/2013 5:00 PM |

Suffolk’s Democrats and Republicans have both held nominating conventions, but neither party has decided who will run in November for the North Fork’s open State Assembly seat.

The Suffolk GOP met last Tuesday in Holtsville, but held off on naming a candidate for the Second Assembly district. After the convention, Republican chairman John Jay LaValle said he expected to have a candidate selected by Friday or possibly Monday.

On Monday, he said he expected a decision by Tuesday, but no candidate had been chosen by Tuesday night.

The GOP has screened a number of candidates, including Southold Councilman Chris Talbot, former Ed Romaine aide Bill Faulk of Manorville, Southold Trustee Bob Ghosio, Mattituck attorney Stephen Kiely, New Suffolk attorney Anthony Palumbo, Mount Sinai attorney Raymond Negron and John Kreutz, Brookhaven Town deputy receiver of taxes. Mr. Talbot has opted not to seek re-election to the Southold Town Board this year.

By controlling 67 percent of the district, the Brookhaven GOP would appear to have the upper hand in the selection process.

Suffolk’s Democrats gathered Monday night, but rather than select an Assembly candidate the party took the unusual step of putting the choice in the hands of the Brookhaven, Riverhead and Southold committees. The 2nd Assembly District extends from north central Brookhaven east to Fishers Island.

Riverhead’s Democrats will meet first, holding their convention Thursday night, followed by Brookhaven on May 28 and Southold on May 29.

“This appears to be a close race at this point,” said Southold Democratic chairman Art Tillman. He asked that party members not commit to any one candidate prior to the convention.

“Our small party will have greater influence if we can proceed united at this point and this requires party discipline,” the chairman said in a recent email to committee members.

As is the case with the GOP, Brookhaven’s Democrats may have the final word on the nominee.

Democratic contenders include Cutchogue winery owner Jim Waters of Manorville, Riverhead attorney John McManmon, Rocky Point attorney Jennifer Maertz, East End Arts director Pat Snyder of Jamesport, Suffolk Park Police officer Tom Schiliro of Manorville and Riverhead attorney Ron Hariri.

Ms. Maertz, who twice ran unsuccessfully for a state Senate seat, is the only candidate with prior political experience.

The Assembly seat opened up when Republican Assemblyman Dan Losquadro of Shoreham won a March special election for Brookhaven highway superintendent.

tkelly@timesreview.com

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