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Report: Riverhead Republicans outpace Dems in campaign cash

Riverhead Republicans have both raised and spent far more to date than their Democratic opponents on campaigns for this fall’s town election, with Supervisor Sean Walter raising the most campaign money, followed by Republican Councilwoman Jodi Giglio and the Republican committee, according to the most recent campaign disclosure reports from the state Board of Elections.

Many of those contributions have been made by people or companies doing business with the town.

Among the larger donations to Mr. Walter’s campaign were $1,000 each from Luminati Aerospace, which seeks to buy about 1,000 acres at the Enterprise Park at Calverton for $40 million; J. Petrocelli, an owner of the Long Island Aquarium, the Hyatt Place Hotel and the under-construction Preston House restaurant and the five-story hotel behind it; $Metro Group, which plans a five-story, 170-unit mixed-use apartment complex on the former Sears property downtown; and Island Water Park, which wants to build a cable-pulled water skiing facility on land it owns at EPCAL.

Laura Jens-Smith, the Democratic candidate for supervisor, said the fundraising difference was “not surprising. We’re not the incumbents. It’s harder to raise funds when you’re not the incumbent.”

She added, “It seems like a lot of his donations are from people the town does business with.”

Mr. Walter said in an interview, “When you’re in business, you make donations across the board. That’s what corporate America does.”

He said he believes Luminati Aerospace “will probably make donations to the Democrats, too.”

So far, it has not, however, and Democratic candidates have been critical of the town’s proposed sale of land at EPCAL to Luminati.

The largest contributions to the Republican Committee were $940 from Mainstream House, which runs an addiction treatment center on East Main Street, and $740 from the Raynor Group PE, an engineering firm the town uses on a consulting basis.

Ms. Giglio’s biggest donations include $1,000 each from Jaral EE Hotel Corp., which owns hotels on West Main Street and Route 58, and engineering firm Dvirka and Bartilucci, which gave the same amount to Mr. Walter.

Ms. Jens-Smith gave $5,000 of her own money to her campaign. Aside from that, her largest contributions include $1,026 from Ira Pittelman and $1,026 from John Coakley of Yonkers, both of whom Ms. Jens-Smith said are friends from the city.

She also received $500 apiece from three unions: Plumbers Local Union No. 200, the United Association of Steamfitters Local Unit No. 638 and the National Regional Council of Carpenters’ New York Non-Partisan Political Education Committee.

A breakdown of campaign disclosure forms is as follows:

Party Committees

The Riverhead Republican Committee started 2017 with a balance of $9,489 in January. According to the two disclosure reports issued in 2017, the Republican committee raised a total of $19,019, while spending a total of $21,557, leaving a balance of $6,950.

The Riverhead Democratic Committee did not have any campaign disclosure reports on file for 2017.


• Mr. Walter, the incumbent Republican supervisor seeking re-election, began the campaign with $6,714 in the bank.

For the two disclosure reports issued in 2017, he raised a total of $43,890 and spent a total of $25,848, leaving a balance of $24,756.

• Laura Jens-Smith began the year with $654 on hand, then raised $17,854 and spent $4,691, according to the two disclosure reports issued in 2017. She had a closing balance of $13,816.

Town Council

• Ms. Giglio, an incumbent who ran for supervisor two years ago, started the year with $35 in the coffers of her committee for town council. According to disclosures thus far for 2017, she raised $24,545 and spent $19,438, leaving a balance of $5,141.

• Frank Beyrodt, the other Republican council candidate, did not have a disclosure report on file with the BOE. The other incumbent Republican councilman, John Dunleavy, is prohibited by term limits from running for re-election, and is instead running for supervisor as a Libertarian Party candidate.

• Michele Lynch, a Democratic candidate for council has raised $2,425 and spent $270 in July, her only disclosure reports, since she wasn’t nominated until May.

• Catherine Kent, her Democratic running mate, raised $400 and spent $12, according to the filings.

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File photo: Riverhead Town Supervisor Sean Walter. (Credit: Tim Gannon)