GOP boss: Wooten will be screening for councilman job

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Republican Committee vice chairman George Harkin, Supervisor Sean Walter, Councilman James Wooten and the GOP group's chairman, John Galla, after the four met for an hour Tuesday night.

Riverhead Councilman James Wooten will be screening for a Town Council position with the Republicans tonight, and not for the supervisor position, said Riverhead Republican Committee chairman John Galla.

“I just received a very cordial phone call from Jim Wooten expressing his intent to screen for council tonight,” Mr. Galla told the News-Review.

But deciding against screening for the supervisor job will not prevent Mr. Wooten for gunning for the incumbent Republican anyway come convention time.

Mr. Galla acknowledged that Mr. Wooten stopped short of  promising he would not pursue a supervisor run after screenings are over.

Asked if he was disappointed in that, Mr. Galla said he took Mr. Wooten’s phone call “at face value.”

“He said he wanted to screen for council and I accepted his word. So, therefore, I believe he wants to run for reelection for council and he’ll be bringing those wishes to screen four council tonight.”

Mr. Wooten on Tuesday night met with GOP heads and Mr. Walter in Wading River in a bid to convince Mr. Wooten to decide against trying to unseat the incumbent Republican.

The councilman told the group he needed 24 hours to reach a decision.

“I was cautiously optimistic,” Mr. Galla said of the hours that passed in the meantime. “I didn’t know which way he was going to go when I didn’t get a phone call last night. I know it’s a big decision for Jim, though, and I wasn’t about to hold him to that 24 hour thing. He wanted time to talk to his family and friends on a monumental decision.”

Mr. Galla said Mr. Wooten would be issuing a public statement.


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