GOP considers candidates to run for county seat

As dust settles after Dan Losquadro’s 1st Assembly District win, the list of potential candidates has steadily grown for the Suffolk County legislative seat he will be vacating to go to Albany, according to party leaders.

A special election for the remaining year of Mr. Losquadro’s two-year term as 6th District legislator will take place between 60 to 90 days after he resigns.

As of Tuesday afternoon, 10 Republican candidates had expressed interest in the seat, according to Suffolk GOP chairman John Jay LaValle. They include Bill Forrester, a retired New York City police officer from Miller Place. Unlike the other prospects, he has already put up campaign signs along Route 25A.

Mr. Forrester’s move is unusual because there are no primary races in a special election. It’s the party leaders — not the party’s registered voters — who ultimately choose the candidates.

“When I first saw his signs I smiled,” Mr. LaValle said. “We’re very encouraged about the outpouring of interest and it just shows how the Republican party is growing stronger everyday.”

While Mr. Forrester’s early move is uncommon, Suffolk Democratic chairman Rich Schaffer said the move shows Mr. Forrester wants “strong consideration.”

“I think he’s doing it to make a point to the party people,” Mr. Schaffer said. “It got a buzz going on him, which was smart.”

Along with Mr. Forrester, the list for potential Republican candidates who have either expressed an interest — or been mentioned as prospects — include:

• Jane Bonner, Brookhaven Town councilwoman.
• Lori Murphy, Ms. Bonner’s aide.
• Tony Gallino, Brookhaven Town public safety commissioner.
• Marty Haley, Brookhaven Town Building commissioner.
• Kevin McCarrick, former Brookhaven Town councilman.
• Karen Wilutis, former Brookhaven Town attorney.
• Raymond Negron, former prosecutor for the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office.
• Marty Callahan, a Miller Place resident and local insurance businessman.
• Jonathan Abrams, manager at Medford-based Gershow Recycling Corp.

Asked about his former aid’s possible candidacy, Mr. Losquadro said he believed Ms. Bonner would be qualified. “When it comes to Jane, I think she’s a great town representative and I think she’d be a fantastic legislator, if she decided to pursue it and got the nomination,” he said.

Mr. Schaffer said while there have been no official discussions within his party about the special election, Democrat Marc Alessi, who recently lost his 1st assembly district seat to Mr. Losquadro, has come up in informal conversations. He’d be “a strong candidate,” Mr. Schaffer said.

Also mentioned for the race among Democrats, according to Mr. Schaffer, is Jennifer Maetz, a Rocky Point resident who ran unsuccessfully this year for state senate, and Shoreham resident Bryan Lilly, who was Mr. Losquadro’s challenger in the past two elections.

Formal discussions will most likely begin in the next couple of weeks, he added.

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