GOP taps New Suffolk attorney for Assembly race; controversy over Riverhead Dems’ choice

TIM KELLY PHOTO | New Suffolk Attorney Anthony Palumbo has secured the GOP nomination for state Assembly.

More than two months after Dan Losquadro left office to run the Brookhaven Town Highway Department, local Republicans have finally identified their choice to replace him in the New York State Assembly.

Anthony Palumbo, 42, an attorney from New Suffolk, has secured the GOP nomination, according to Suffolk County Republican chairman John Jay LaValle.

“He screened very well and has a great grasp of the issues, but what really pushed him over the top is his background as a former prosecutor and head of the [District Attorney's] East End Bureau.,” Mr. LaValle said. “Considering all the corruption scandals going on in the New York State Assembly, having someone like Tony Palumbo up there sends a very strong message.

“I’m certain that it won’t be high on Sheldon Silver’s to-do list, but there is no question the state Assembly needs to enact better anti-corruption measures and ethics reforms. Corruption equals waste, and waste equals higher taxes, and people are not in the position to tolerate corrupt politicians who are going to increase their taxes.”

Mr. Palumbo said recent scandals in Albany were also his biggest reason for running.

“The primary reason is the corruption and nonsense going on in Albany,” he said. “It’s to the point here we’re all a little disappointed with them.”

A graduate of St. John’s Law, Mr. Palumbo and his wife, Tracy, live in New Suffolk with their son, Ryan, 9, and Madeline, 6.

He said the challenge of working in the minority in the Assembly does not concern him, since he senses many people are frustrated with the status quo.

“From a lot of the comments made after the recent arrests of state legislators … cleaning up Albany appears to be a universal theme,” he said. “We have to start somewhere.

Mr. Palumbo practices law in Mattituck with Bill Goggins, who earlier this week received the support of the Southold Town GOP for a run at a town justice seat. Mr. Palumbo said he believes he can bring something new to the North Fork and to Albany.

“As a new face to the whole [political] landscape, I can hopefully be a breath of fresh air to the voting public,” he said.

The Suffolk GOP had met last Tuesday in Holtsville, but held off on naming a candidate for the Second Assembly district until today.

The GOP had 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, Mount Sinai attorney Raymond Negron and John Kreutz, Brookhaven Town deputy receiver of taxes. Mr. Talbot opted not to seek re-election to the Southold Town Board this year.

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.

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.

TIM GANNON PHOTO | Attorney John McManmon was the Riverhead Democrats’ choice for Assembly Thursday night.

Riverhead’s Democrats met first, holding their convention Thursday night, and offering their support for Mr. McManmon.

There has been a backlash over Mr. McManmon’s candidacy based on his residency. Mr. McManmon, 28, worked for a Manhattan law firm called Millbank, Tweed, Hadley and McCoy,  and his address is listed as that of his parents in Aquebogue, although some have said he lives at an apartment on Dean Street in Brooklyn.

He said Thursday that although he lives in Brooklyn during the week for work purposes, he still votes here.

Mr. McManmon’s father, James, is an attorney who works for OTB and who has made three unsuccessful runs at a state assembly seat. His mother, Jeanne O’Rourke, is a deputy commissioner for the Board of Elections.

“If you check with the Board of Elections, John has been registered from his family address since he was 18,” Riverhead Democratic committee chair Marge Acevedo said. “His job is in New York City and he travels back and forth.  His residency should not be in question at all.”

Brookhaven Democrats meet May 28 and Southold’s committee meets May 29 and a candidate will not be announced until then.

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

Southold Democratic Chairman Art Tillman said Thursday that Glenn Friedman of South Jamesport has also thrown his hat into the ring for the Democrats’ 2nd Assembly District nomination.

Mr. LaValle said Governor Andrew Cuomo put in a certificate of necessity for a special election in  New York City, but not on Long Island, so it would seem that there will be no special date for the Assembly seat and the election will be held in November.

tkelly@timesreview.com

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