Monday Briefing: Nominating conventions, the school vote and a new train leaving Riverhead

Tension and drama — and the occasional death of Osama bin Laden — is what sells newspapers, not news of politicians putting aside their differences for the good of the party. But that’s what happened this weekend when Riverhead Councilman Jim Wooten agreed to call off his run for the town supervisor seat against incumbent and fellow Republican Sean Walter.

So much for the trending circulation bump.

I told party chairman John Galla Saturday that he blew an opportunity by helping mediate this internal spat just days before Thursday’s GOP nominating convention. The News-Review was planning to have an editor, two reporters and a photographer in attendance at the event at the Elk’s Lodge. There were to be news updates, photos, videos, Tweets and opinion pieces.

With all the uncertainty gone — Mr. Wooten is running for a council seat — it will likely just be one of us, probably veteran newsman Tim Gannon, at the convention since the presumptive Town Board nominees are all incumbents.

• Perhaps tonight’s Democratic nominating convention will fill the void. Former three-term supervisor Phil Cardinale has been coy about whether he wants the job or not, saying he would like to know whom he’s running with and if the party was prepared to wage a throaty campaign.

We don’t know all the names of those who have screened for Town Board seats with the Democrats, but two men hoping for nominations told the News-Review Friday that they would wage primaries if they were to be rejected by the committee. In our interview about the Republicans, Mr. Galla called primaries “political mortal combat.” I call it great reading.

There will be a team of reporters at the Democratic committee’s 7 p.m. convention at the Pizza Pie in Wading River. Check back here, on Facebook or on Twitter @rvhdnewsreview for updates. We’ll let you know who’s challenging Mr. Walter, Jim Wooten and George Gabrielsen for seats on the board.

• Riverhead and Shoreham-Wading River voters head to the polls Tuesday to vote on budget proposals and school board seats.

Click here for videos of the Riverhead school board hopefuls and here for our story on the candidates. There’s four candidates and three open seats so one person, as Ryan Seacrest says, is going home.

We also covered SWR’s Meet the Candidates night last week.

Click our Education tab on our homepage to catch up on our running budget coverage.

• County Legislator Ed Romaine has brought to our attention that today marks the first arrival of another westbound train leaving Riverhead’s Long Island Rail Road station. The new train leaves at 9:21 a.m. Monday-Friday and arrives in Manhattan before noon. Better bring a book.

The lawmaker also reminds us that weekend LIRR service starts up again for the summer on May 21.

• Today is a bright and sunny day. And it should be so the rest of the week — for allergy sufferers, at least. I haven’t had allergies this bad since high school. The recent dry spell after a wet March and early April had let this pollen and other plant dust just blow all over the place, coating cars and patio furniture and cutting through even the strongest doses of allergy pills and eye drops. The rain — the forecast calls for rain all week — should help wash that all away.

It’s also a good time to put down some grass seed.