Town Board incumbents being challenged for GOP nomination

The Riverhead Republican Committee plans to screen more than just incumbents for town supervisor and council seats up for re-election, committee vice president Vic Prusinowski confirmed Monday.

The committee is expected to screen three challengers and two incumbents for town council and seven candidates for the town justice position currently held by longtime incumbent Richard Ehlers, who is not seeking re-election.

For the two council seats up for re-election, Mr. Prusinowski said incumbents Jim Wooten and George Gabrielsen are going to screen along with a few new comers.

Two recently retired town police officers — Tim Hubbard and Robert Peeker — as well as Theresa Sweeney, a town information technology employee and president of the local Civil Service Employees Association, are planning to screen for Town Board, Mr. Prusinowski said.

Mr. Peeker is a retired lieutenant and Mr. Hubbard, who previously served on the Riverhead Board of Education, is a retired detective. The most recent information from the Board of Elections indicates both candidates aren’t registered with a political party.

People seeking to run on a party line that they aren’t registered with need to obtain special approval from the county party leader in order to receive the nomination.

Mr. Wooten and incumbent Councilman John Dunleavy, who isn’t up for re-election, are also retired town police officers, as was Tim Buckley, who resigned in 2009 from the council seat currently held by Mr. Gabrielsen.

For supervisor, Mr. Prusinowski said incumbent Sean Walter is going to be challenged by Councilwoman Jodi Giglio, who had publicly announced her intention to screen for the position last month.

While both are Republicans, Ms. Giglio and Mr. Walter have been at odds for much of the five years they’ve served together on the Town Board.

Ms. Giglio originally sought the GOP nomination for supervisor in 2009, but the committee nominated Mr. Walter and convinced her to run for council instead.

Members of the current Town Board are registered with the Republican party.

As for town justice, seven people are screening to replace Mr. Ehlers.

Mr. Prusinowski said those candidates include: current town attorney and former town supervisor Bob Kozakiewicz; chief deputy town attorney Ann Marie Prudenti; Lori Hulse, a deputy town attorney in Southold Town member of the Riverhead school board; Dawn Thomas, a former town attorney and a member of the town’s Industrial Development Agency; Mary Hartill, a former deputy town attorney who’s involved with the town’s youth court program; Jean Marie Costello, a Riverhead attorney in private practice; and Bill Andes Jr., also a Riverhead attorney in private practice and a member of the Riverhead Business Improvement District Management Association.

Screening with the Republicans without opposition include incumbent assessors Mason Haas and Paul Leszczynski; and incumbent tax receiver Lori Zaneski, Mr. Prusinowski said. The committee isn’t screening a candidate to challenge incumbent Democratic Town Clerk Diane Wilhelm, he added.

The justice candidates are screening tonight, March 9, the council candidates are scheduled to screen March 21, and the supervisor candidates set to screen March 23, Mr. Prusinowski said.

While a date hasn’t been set, the committee is expected to formally nominate its candidates in mid-May, he said.

The Riverhead Democratic committee is planning to screen candidates soon, said committee chairman John Stefans. He declined to release the candidates names or say how many are planning to screen.

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