Cardinale will top Dems’ ticket; Williams and Van Glad tapped for Town Board

VERA CHINESE PHOTO | Former Riverhead Town Supervisor Phil Cardinale (right) has received the Democratic nod for supervisor. Matt Van Glad (left) received the Democratic nod for one of two seats on the Town Board.

Former Riverhead supervisor Phil Cardinale is planning a comeback — and he has the support of town Democrats.

The Riverhead Democratic Committee nominated Mr. Cardinale, who lost a re-election bid in 2009 to current Supervisor Sean Walter, at its convention in Wading River Monday night. He will be joined on the ticket by Town Board candidates Matthew Van Glad, 39, and Marlando Williams, 49.
Mr. Cardinale, 62, previously served three terms as supervisor after first being elected by just 49 votes in 2003.

He was defeated in a close 2009 election that saw Mr. Walter secure just a 249-vote advantage.

Mr. Cardinale, who said Monday he was “doing the work of the people” and did not have sufficient time to campaign in 2009, was critical of his successor in his acceptance address to the committee. He blasted Mr. Walter for calling the town’s master plan “a load of crap,” for dismissing polo and Indian gaming proposals at EPCAL and for working as an attorney while supervisor.

“I said [after I was defeated in 2009], ‘Sean, prepare to be a servant,’” Mr. Cardinale said describing a minutes-long meeting between the two when Mr. Cardinale conceded on election night. “He has not adjusted well to that practical reality.”

“He thinks he is master to the public,” he later said in an interview inside The Pizza Pie restaurant, where the convention was held.

Mr. Van Glad and Mr. Williams edged out Ron Hariri in a floor vote to earn the two Town Board nominations.

Mr. Hariri, a vocal critic of Supervisor Sean Walter and formerly of Mr. Cardinale, had announced more than a month ago his intent to run for supervisor before telling party officials Sunday — specifically, former chairman Butch Langhorn, who had been prepared to support Mr. Hariri — he would instead seek a council seat at the convention.

But the NYC attorney who lives in Aquebogue was the odd man out after Mr. Van Glad, a Democratic committeeman from Riverhead, received a nomination from the floor.

Mr. Van Glad, a fuel oil deliveryman who said he is also an artist, had briefly announced from the convention floor his intent to run for supervisor, but instead he bowed out in favor of Mr. Cardinale. The convention recessed for about 20 minutes as Mr. Cardinale and Mr. Van Glad met to discuss Mr. Van Glad’s instead seeking a council nomination.

Mr. Williams is a former State Trooper from Calverton. He was the top vote-getter among the three men who were seeking town council nominations. Mr. Williams received 4,341.5 gubernatorial votes to Mr. Van Glad’s 3,519.5 and Mr. Hariri’s 912.5.

(Committee members in each election district represent a certain of number of votes based on the number of people from the district who voted in the last election for state governor.)

Mr. Hariri, who had recently changed his registration from Republican to Democrat, was later asked by party leaders to consider running for one of the two open town assessor spots or for town justice. Robert Svoboda of Wading River may also seek one of those two seats, the nominations for which were left open.

Receiving the nomination to run for Town Clerk was incumbent Diane Wilhelm.

Evan Philcox, a solar panel installer for Go Solar and a lacrosse coach, was selected to run for town assessor. He told the committee his technical experience and strong math background make him a good candidate.

Greg Fischer of Calverton and Bob Olson of Riverhead, who screened for Town Board seats, told the News-Review on Friday they would try to wage primaries if they weren’t nominated. They did not appear to be in attendance at the event.

Mr. Cardinale told the News-Review he first started thinking of seeking office again after he learned Mr. Walter kept working as a real estate lawyer after he had been elected supervisor. “We need a full-time supervisor,” he said.

Mr. Walter has defended the practice, saying he still works more than full-time hours doing town business.

When the sitting supervisor was later asked for his take on the Democratic slate — and on what news he had heard out of the convention — he said, “Sequels are seldom better than the original, and I don’t see this sequel going anywhere. The real question is, what about him has changed to cause him to manage the town any different than he did for the six years he was in office?”

Mr. Walter also said Mr. Cardinale’s speech before the Democratic committee focused more on personal attacks than it did on any specific plans, and that Mr. Cardinale showed a lack of leadership by abstaining from voting on the town council nominations.

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