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Thursday primaries: Supe, council, justice nods up for grabs

09/09/2015 5:13 PM |

Walter.Giglio

It’s a busy primary day in Riverhead Thursday, as two elected officials go toe-to-toe for the Republican supervisor ticket, Town Board candidates — all retired cops — fight over two open slots and three candidates compete for party nominations for Town Justice.

Riverhead Supervisor Sean Walter and Councilwoman Jodi Giglio face off Thursday in a primary for the Republican nomination for Town Supervisor.

Mr. Walter, who’s served as supervisor since 2010, didn’t get his party’s support for re-election. It was Ms. Giglio, a council member since 2010, who won the Republican committee nod for supervisor by half a vote.

Click here for more on Ms. Giglio and Mr. Walter’s positions.

The winner of the GOP primary will face off against the Democratic candidate for supervisor, Anthony Coates. It remains to be seen if either candidate will drop out if they don’t get the Republican nomination, though both will be on the ballot come Election Day, since Mr. Walter also has the Conservative party line and Ms Giglio still has the Independence party line.

NEXT: TOWN COUNCIL

Council

Although three candidates are running for two Republican Town Board seats in Thursday’s primary, one thing is for sure: Both of the candidates voters decide to send to the polls in November will be retired police officers.

Incumbent Councilman Jim Wooten will try to hold onto his seat against party favorites Timothy Hubbard and Robert Peeker, who were nominated by the Riverhead Republican Committee at its nominating convention in May.

Mr. Peeker and Mr. Hubbard have both pointed to a perceived lack of progress the current Town Board has made in the time Mr. Wooten has been in office.

“Jim has been there for eight years,” said Mr. Hubbard. “And I don’t think he has a whole lot of accomplishments he can hang his hat on.”

Added Mr. Peeker, “I don’t know what dynamic legislation has been put in place during his tenure. I think it’s time for a change.”

Mr. Wooten, meanwhile, is pointing to the privatization of the town’s animal shelter and a current campaign to build a new one as the biggest feather in his cap.

“It took a long time to dismantle the union and get North Fork Animal Welfare League in there,” he said.

As far as counting up the pieces of legislation he’s passed goes, Mr. Wooten added that as the only registered Republican in the race, less is sometimes more.

“There’s a lot of legislation I haven’t put forward … I try to listen to the issues, weigh them, see how they affect the public, and vote my conscience,” he said. He said if he loses the primary race, he would “be finished” in his effort for a third term.

As Mr. Peeker and Mr. Hubbard run alongside the party favorite for supervisor — current Councilwoman Jodi Giglio, who will try to unseat incumbent Supervisor Sean Walter — they’ve also said they hope to bring a more civil sense of discourse to the board. Mr. Peeker added that he views addressing quality of life issues as an immediate need.

Mr. Wooten, 55, grew up in Riverhead, attended Riverhead High School and lives in the downtown area with his wife and daughter. He spent 23 years on the police force, retiring as president of the police union. If re-elected, he said he hopes to continue the work Councilman George Gabrielsen has done to create a solar energy park at the Enterprise Park at Calverton, as well as create a commercial garbage district downtown.

Mr. Peeker, 57, retired as a lieutenant from the Riverhead Town Police Department earlier this year after 33 years on the force. He served four years in the Marine Corps and, before that, grew up in Wading River and attended Port Jefferson High School. He lives in Aquebogue with his wife; they have three grown children.

Mr. Hubbard, 55, retired as a detective earlier this year from the Riverhead Town Police Department. Previously a member of the Riverhead Board of Education, the RHS graduate spent 32 years on the force. He also served on the Eastern Suffolk BOCES advisory board during his tenure there due to his work with the juvenile aid bureau. He lives in Riverhead with his wife; they have five children.

The two Republican candidates for Town Board will face off against Democratic candidates Laura Jens-Smith and Neil Krupnick in November.

Caption: Tim Hubbard, Jim Wooten and Robert Peeker

NEXT: TOWN JUSTICE

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