Former Riverhead supervisor Vinny Villella appears to be out in front in any race to head the Riverhead Town Democratic Committee in September, when longtime chairman Butch Langhorn will step down.
Mr. Langhorn, who has held the position for the past 10 years, officially notified the committee of his decision Monday night, citing health issues and the fact that he never intended to serve that long to begin with.
“It’s been a great 10 years but I think 10 years is a long time, seeing as I only took it for the period for which we couldn’t find somebody else to take it,” Mr. Langhorn told the committee at a meeting in Wading River. “Unfortunately, it took 10 years to find somebody.”
Mr. Langhorn said he approached Mr. Villella about taking over a few years ago, after suffering an aneurysm. At the time, however, Mr. Villella had some health issues of his own and declined.
Mr. Langhorn said his doctors advised him to reduce stress, though he still plans to be active in the committee.
Mr. Villella said he would be willing to take the position if the committee voted him in come September.
During Mr. Langhorn’s tenure as town Democratic leader, his party has held the supervisor’s office for six years; the 1st Congressional District seat, currently held by Tim Bishop, for seven years; and the state Assembly seat now occupied by Marc Alessi for five years. Democrats also currently control the town clerk and highway superintendent posts, though the Town Board is all Republican.