Longtime judge may receive support from Dems

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05/29/2013 8:00 AM |

BETH YOUNG FILE PHOTO | Longtime Republlican Southold Town Justice William Price, right, may receive the nomination to run as a Democrat this year.

Republican Town Justice William Price, who was denied the GOP nomination to run for a new term in the fall, has agreed to accept the Democratic Party’s endorsement, town Democratic leader Art Tillman said this week.

Mr. Tillman said he spoke to Judge Price, who is in his 32nd year on the bench, Tuesday morning. The Democrats will hold their nominating convention in Cutchogue Wednesday evening.

“He’s got an excellent reputation for fairness and non-partisanship,” said Mr. Tillman. “Often we didn’t even field a candidate against him. We’re looking for the best candidates. If they happen to be Republicans we don’t mind.”

Regarding a registered Republican running as a Democrat, Mr. Tillman added, “Everybody in our party is quite happy about it.”

Aware of the coming floor fight between the incumbent and Mr. Goggins, the Democrats offered the nod to Judge Price before last week’s GOP convention, Mr. Tillman said. “All along he said, ‘Not at this time,’ ” the chairman said.

Judge Price was out of town and unavailable for comment this week.

In a move that rocked the Southold political establishment, the town GOP selected Mattituck attorney William Goggins over the incumbent during the party’s May 21 convention. The party also snubbed incumbent Trustee Dave Bergen, going instead with political newcomer Dave Zuhoski of Cutchogue.

Mr. Tillman said he could not comment on whether his party might extend a similar invitation to Mr. Bergen, other than to say several party members have expressed an interest in running.

“It should be an interesting convention,” he said.

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