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Councilman Wooten to screen for Republican nomination for supervisor

Riverhead Councilman Jim Wooten, who must give up his Town Board seat at the end of the year due to term limits, says he will screen for the Republican nomination for supervisor and may also screen for an assessor position if one of the incumbents doesn’t seek re-election. 

The Riverhead Republican Committee sent out a press release indicating that it will be screening candidates for town offices Tuesday, Feb. 5, at 6 p.m.

The release did not indicate where the screening will take place, but urged anyone interested in screening to send an email to [email protected].

Meanwhile, Riverhead Democratic Chair Marge Acevedo said, “We have started our screening process, but do not have a set time for our convention.”

Screenings are occurring much earlier than usual this year because the state changed the date of primaries statewide from September to June; the upcoming primary is June 25. The federal government moved its primaries up to June a few years ago. 

In Riverhead, the positions up for election are supervisor, two council seats, two assessor seats, town clerk, tax receiver and justice.

Incumbent Supervisor Laura Jens-Smith, a Democrat, has indicated she plans to seek re-election. 

Other Republican incumbents whose seats are up for re-election are Councilman Tim Hubbard, tax receiver Laurie Zaneski, assessors Mason Haas and Paul Leszczynski and Justice Lori Hulse.

Town Clerk Diane Wilhelm, a Democrat, also is up for re-election. 

“I think my demeanor will lend itself perfectly to both jobs,” said Mr. Wooten, who was elected in 2007. “I love the job and I love my interaction with the community, and I think people trust me.”

He said he would not run a negative campaign if selected. 

“Anybody that sits in [the supervisor’s] chair, whether I like them or not, was put there by the people,” he said. 

The Town Board enacted 12-year term limits for council members in 2016.

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