GOP nominees win Conservative, Independence support

All of the Riverhead Republican’s candidates for town offices will also have the endorsement of both the Conservative and Independence parties this election year, officials said.

The Republican slate of Town Board candidates Supervisor Sean Walter, Councilman Jim Wooten and Councilman George Gabrielsen was selected by both parties over the Democratic slate of challengers Phil Cardinale for supervisor and Matt VanGlad and Marlando Williams for council.

“It’s fantastic news,” Mr. Walter told the News-Review Tuesday. “I think the endorsement of the Independence Party is recognition of the work we’ve done here for the first 18 months of my term, balancing the budget and revitalizing Main Street and putting EPCAL in a new direction. I’m very grateful for Independence party and the Conservative Party for the confidence they’ve placed in us.”

“We didn’t screen with the Conservatives, but I’m a little disappointed in the Independence line,” town Democratic chairman Vinny Villella said in an interview. “Usually, [county Independence Party chairman] Frank MacKay is very fair and picks a few Republicans and a few Democrats. But this year, he left it up to the local committee and they took all incumbents.”

In addition to the Town Board candidates, the Conservative and Independence parties also endorsed Republicans incumbents Justice Richard Ehlers, Tax Receiver Maryann Heilbrunn, and assessors Mason Haas and Paul Leszczynski.

Democratic incumbent Town Clerk Diane Wilhelm, who is running unopposed, was backed by the Independence party, said Giuseppe Rosini, the leader of the town Independence Party Committee.

In addition to the Town Board candidates and Ms. Wilhelm, the Democrats also nominated Evan Philcox and Robert Svoboda to run for the two assessor seats.

There currently is no chair of the town Conservative committee, but former chair Jim Saladino said their nominates of the Republican slate was made pending approval from the county Conservative chair, which is needed in order to endorse candidates who are not registered Conservatives.

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