GOP preparing for Assembly race that might not happen
It’s looking as if the Republican nomination in the upcoming special election for the 2nd District seat in the New York State Assembly could come out of Southold Town. But party leaders aren’t quite ready to commit to that and the governor has yet to even set a date for the vote.
At least five potential GOP nominees — including four from Southold — have expressed interest in running in the special election to replace former Assemblyman Dan Losquadro, local party leaders said. Mr. Losquadro won a special election to become Brookhaven Town highway superintendent last week.
Southold Town Councilman Chris Talbot and Trustee Bob Ghosio have both asked to screen for the post along with Mattituck attorneys Stephen Kiely and Tony Palumbo, party officials said. Bill Faulk of Manorville, a longtime aide to former county legislator Ed Romaine, also confirmed he’s interested in the job.
Suffolk County Republican leaders are expected to meet Wednesday to select a nominee for the special election.
Democratic leaders said there has been less interest on their side of the aisle.
“There have been some candidates who have come forward, such as Jennifer Maertz,” said Riverhead Democratic chair Marge Acevedo. “However, we don’t know when there is going to be an election. It’s entirely up to the governor.”
Sources said Governor Andrew Cuomo can either call for a special election in conjuction with school elections May 21 or wait to hold it along with the general election in November.
Former assemblyman Marc Alessi’s name came up this week in rumors over who might secure the Democratic nomination, but he said he is not interested.
“I’m not the guy. I do miss it, but it’s not a good time for me to be in Albany,” said the father of three, who now works as the CEO of a biomedical company and still practices law.
Mr. Alessi won the seat in a 2005 special election and served until he lost the 2010 election to Mr. Losquadro by 917 votes.
Ms. Maertz, of Rocky Point, previously lost two bids for state Senate.
GOP sources interviewed this week suggested Mr. Talbot — who would be running as a current elected official — might have the inside track to receive the Republican bid. He said Tuesday that he’s interested and is waiting to see how the nominating process plays out.
“We’ll see what the party wants to do,” said Mr. Talbot, of Cutchogue. “We need to wait for the governor to decide if and when there’s going to be a special election.”
Mr. Ghosio, who lives in Greenport and formerly resided in Lake Panamoka, said he first sought the seat three years ago when Mr. Losquadro was nominated. He said his experience of living in both Brookhaven and Southold towns has given him a vast knowledge of the district.
“I’ve been interested in it for a while,” he said. “I feel I’ve got a good grasp of the issues we’re dealing with.”
Mr. Faulk said his experience working as a legislative aide has helped familiarize him with the needs of North Fork residents.
“Serving in the Assembly would give me an opportunity to continue the work we started in the Legislature,” he said. “I miss working on the North Fork. I learned a lot of things that could help me do a good job.
“Mr. Losquadro worked hard to fight the MTA payroll tax, and for open space preservation,” he added. “I would continue along that road to protect taxpayers and small-business owners.”
Riverhead Town Republican chairman John Galla said that as of noon Tuesday nobody from Riverhead had inquired about the nomination.
“We’re going to send out an email and you never know who will come forward,” he said. “Anybody is welcome to screen with us.”
Both Mr. Galla and Southold Republican chairman Peter McGreevy said the nominee will be decided by themselves, Suffolk County chairman John Jay LaValle and Brookhaven party leader Jesse Garcia.
Mr. McGreevy said that while Southold has more interested parties, that doesn’t mean the town has a lock on the nomination.
“Just because we have four potential candidates doesn’t necessarily mean the candidate will be from Southold,” he said. “We have to wait until we’re done screening.”
With Tim Kelly, Tim Gannon and Beth Young.