11/10/11 10:03am
11/10/2011 10:03 AM

TIM KELLY PHOTO | Southold Town Supervisor Scott Russell with his family on election night.

Southold’s voters have spoken, and they’ve chosen the status quo.

Every Republican on the ballot won by a wide margin Tuesday, led by Supervisor Scott Russell, who didn’t quite equal his 2007 record of taking 83 percent of the vote, but still cruised to victory by a 3 to 1 margin over Democrat Bob Meguin.

The only change in town government coming in 2012 will be current Trustee president Jill Doherty stepping in to Councilman Vincent Orlando’s Town Board seat. Mr. Orlando chose not to seek a second term.

The GOP maintained its 5-1 Town Board super-majority, leaving Councilman Al Krupski and Highway Superintendent Pete Harris as Southold’s only elected Democrats. Both are up for re-election in 2013.

GOP Trustee Jim King, who won another four-year term, as did running mate Bob Ghosio, was pointed in his critique of the Democratic campaign.

“I just look at those numbers up there and that tells everything,” he said. “If I was the competition, I’d be embarrassed.”
Town Democratic leader Art Tillman doesn’t disagree.

“They cleaned our clocks,” he said to party members gathered to follow the results at Rothman’s Gallery in Southold.

Acknowledging that his first campaign as town leader ended in a GOP sweep, Mr. Tillman offered his resignation, but the party declined.

Meeting at the Soundview Inn in Greenport, Republicans were subdued in savoring their sweep.

“We focused on what was important,” said Mr. Russell. “Never underestimate the intellect of the voting public out here.”

The supervisor took 76 percent of the vote, beating Mr. Meguin 4,647 to 2,462, according to the Suffolk Board of Election’s unofficial tally.

Councilman Bill Ruland won his second term with 3,832 votes, followed in the second of two seats up for grabs by Ms. Doherty with 3,678. Democrats Marie Domenici and Nicholas Deegan finished with 2,248 and 1,987 votes, respectively.

“It’s an honor to be part of the Ruland team,” the supervisor said.

Ms. Doherty, the newest member of that “team,” said, “I really worked hard. I was hoping I’d win but I didn’t think I’d win by this much.”

It was a frustrating defeat for Ms. Domenici. “I don’t know what else I could have done,” she said.

Before taking the oath of office in January, Ms. Doherty must resign from her Trustees post. The Town Board is expected to discuss options for filling her seat during its next work session in two weeks.

The last time that need arose came in 2005, after then-Trustee Al Krupski won a Town Board seat. At that time the Town Board appointed former Democratic Trustee John Holzapfel, who agreed he would not run in the next election, as an interim Trustee.

In the Trustees race, Mr. King took 3,892 votes and Mr. Ghosio 3,759. On the Democratic side, Steve Brautigam received 2,037 votes and Lynn Summers 1,999.

Veteran Town Justice Rudolph Bruer beat back a spirited challenge from Southold attorney Brian Hughes, 3,729 to 2,314, a split of 62 percent to 38 percent.

In the tax receiver’s race, which the Democrats framed as a referendum on abolishing that position, George Sullivan easily bested former councilman Bill Edwards with 64 percent of the vote. By the numbers, he won 3,786 to 2,146.

Running unopposed, Assessor Darline Duffy received 4,780 votes.

The Democrats had secured an independent ballot line, the Save Medicare line, which the party said offered voters a chance to make a statement against Republican efforts in Washington to cut that and similar programs. But that failed to catch fire, with the 222 votes Ms. Summers received on that line the most of any of the candidates.

The party is wasting little time in planning on a comeback.

“We need bodies,” party organizer Gwynn Schroeder said. She suggested immediately reaching out to people throughout the town by holding events to shed light on ongoing issues and Democratic principles.

Bob Meguin said he began efforts in Greenport Tuesday by reaching out to the clergy to discuss housing problems.

“Naturally, I’m quite disappointed at our inability to make some progress on a lot of issues,” Mr. Meguin said. “It’s very difficult to pierce the Republican Party. The electorate is clearly satisfied with what’s going on, but that doesn’t mean we’re going to go away.”

The outspoken Mr. Meguin apologized for what he called his “Jackie Gleason mouth” and said he felt he let the party down.

“I’m vocal; I’m passionate,” he said. “I kind of knew I’d be a lightning rod.”

But it wasn’t all doom and gloom for the Democrats. As early vote tallies were rolling in, Dan Durett, a member of the party’s executive committee, took to the stage to cheer, “Hip, Hip, Hooray. I don’t care what the numbers say. Put it on the record — it’s a brand new day.”

This story was reported by Julie Lane and Beth Young and written by Tim Kelly.

11/09/11 10:09am
11/09/2011 10:09 AM

ROBERT O'ROURK PHOTO | Suffolk Democrats toast County Executive-elect Steve Bellone at the elction night gathering at the IBEW Hall in Hauppauge.

Election Day was supposed to be a major opportunity for Suffolk Republicans, with three seats in the Legislature and the county executive’s office up for grabs.

Instead it was the Suffolk Democrats who walked away smiling, victors in the race for County Executive and still in control of the Legislature.

“Tonight, the voters of Suffolk County have given us a huge victory,” said Suffolk County Executive-elect Steve Bellone.

Mr. Bellone posted a double-digit win over his Republican opponent, Angie Carpenter, in the race to succeed Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy. The Babylon Town Supervisor secured 130,000 more votes than his opponent, taking in 56 percent of the vote.

A Democrat has now won the county’s highest office three straight elections, but Democrats were doing everything they could Tuesday night to distance themselves from Mr. Levy, who surrendered $4 million in campaign cash and didn’t seek reelection after prosecutors made inquiries into his fundraising practices.

The County Executive had changed his party affiliation to Republican in 2010 with hopes of making a run at the Governor’s mansion. In their election night speeches, county Democrats painted Mr. Levy in an unfavorable light.

“We’re going to have a County Executive we can be proud of,” Suffolk Democratic chairman Rich Schaffer said of Mr. Bellone. “We’re going to have a Steve that works well with other people.”

Mr. Bellone said he hopes to open Suffolk County government up to the people.

“We made an effort to reach out because of what happened over the past eight years,” said Mr. Bellone, speaking at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Hall in Hauppauge. “We’re going to be a county that brings people together.”

Meanwhile, not far down the road at the Sheraton Long Island Hotel in Hauppauge, Republicans were singing a similar tune. Suffolk GOP chairman John Jay LaValle called Mr. Bellone a “good man” with a difficult challenge ahead.

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Ms. Carpenter, who will continue to serve as County Treasurer, conceded shortly before midnight, when she urged all elected officials in Suffolk County to work together.

“We have some real challenges ahead of us, and as disappointed as we might be, we have to pull ourselves up by the boot straps,” she said to a crowd of Republican supporters. “We have got to pull together, because it’s not going to be done by one person alone.”

One man who will join in that effort is North Fork Legislator Ed Romaine, a Republican who won his bid for reelection with 78 percent of the vote against a Democratic opponent who ran a lackluster campaign.

Mr. Romaine and fellow Legislator Jay Schneiderman, an Independent with Democratic backing, will continue to represent the East End for two more years.

Preliminary results from the Suffolk County Board of Elections show Democrats likely won all three open seats to maintain a 12-6 majority in the Legislature.

Mr. Romaine said Tuesday night that he will continue to do everything he can for the people of the East End, even if Democrats still control the majority.

“I’m the only voice for the first district, and I need to be a strong voice,” he said.

Jennifer Gustavson and Samantha Brix contributed reporting to this story.

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11/08/11 6:52am
11/08/2011 6:52 AM

Bob Meguin, left, is challenging Southold Town Supervisor in today's election.

Polls are now open in Southold, where two seats on the Town Board and the town supervisor post are both on the ballot.

Voters will also elect a new Suffolk County Executive tonight, along with other town and county seats.

Before heading to the polls, be sure to check out our past election coverage.

Also remember to check back after 9 p.m. as we report live results and reactions from the field, where our reporters will be with both town and county Republicans and Democrats all night long.

TOWN SUPERVISOR

Profiles: Supervisor candidates Scott Russell and Bob Meguin

Videos: Meet the candidates for Southold Town Supervisor

Blog Recap: Editorial Board endorsement interview with supervisor candidates

TOWN BOARD

One Town Board seat open, two up for grabs Tuesday

Blog Recap: Editorial Board endorsement interview with supervisor candidates

Video: Meet the candidates for Southold Town Board

SOUTHOLD TRUSTEES

Four candidates for two seats in Southold Trustee race

Video: Meet the candidates for Southold Town Trustee

OTHER TOWN RACES

It’s an unusual fight for town judge this year

Check out who’s running and why for town receiver and assessor

SUFFOLK COUNTY EXECUTIVE

Who will be the next Suffolk County Executive?

11/08/11 5:00am

Two candidates are vying to fill the Suffolk County executive position that incumbent Steve Levy will vacate at the end of the year in an election to be decided today.

Democrat Steve Bellone, 42, of West Babylon, and Republican Angie Carpenter, 68, of West Islip, are both longtime politicians seeking the four-year term.

Mr. Bellone has been Babylon Town supervisor since 2002, and he was a Babylon Town Councilman for four years before that. He is an Army veteran and claims he has made government more efficient in Babylon, reduced debt there and brought about consecutive tax cuts.

Ms. Carpenter has been Suffolk County treasurer for four years and was a member of the Suffolk County Legislature for 13 before that. Before her election to the Legislature, she owned her own typography business, which her sons now run.

She claims her experience in county government is valuable because she knows the workings of the county.

Both candidates have recently made overtures toward East End voters.

In a press conference Tuesday, Ms. Carpenter called for the reopening of several county offices on the East End that have been closed for years, such as the county executive and consumer affairs offices in the Riverhead County Center.

“Many people on the East End feel that they have been ignored,” she said.

Mr. Bellone said at a recent News 12 debate with Ms. Carpenter that he supports putting forward a transportation plan for the East End, as well as supporting the East End’s agricultural economy.

“We cannot forget the East End,” he said. “The East End is too often looked at as a piggybank by the MTA and New York City officials who think the East End is just a place to go to in the summer time.”

The two candidates have been slamming each other in campaign ads.

Ms. Carpenter’s campaign has been running a “Big Tax Bellone” website accusing Mr. Bellone of big tax increases and saying that an Empire Center for New York State Policy report states that Babylon has the biggest tax burden in the county, Mr. Bellone says that the report refers to school taxes, not town taxes. Ms. Carpenter insists that town taxes in Babylon have skyrocketed under Mr. Bellone.

A chart on the “Big Tax Bellone” website shows Babylon town taxes have increased by 53.5 percent since 1998, when Mr. Bellone first became a councilman in Babylon. However, the same chart shows that Babylon taxes have increased only 18 percent since 2002, when Mr. Bellone became supervisor.

Mr. Bellone said county debt has doubled in the last seven years. Ms. Carpenter says she was not a policy maker when this happened, and that the bulk of the debt was for a state-mandated new jail in Yaphank.

The “Big Tax Bellone” site calls him “King of Patronage,” shows a picture of him wearing a crown and says foreclosures and unemployment rates are high in Babylon.

Mr. Bellone accuses Ms. Carpenter of trying to get a “six-figure job” for a political advisor when she first took office as county treasurer.

Ms. Carpenter said she has an economic plan that calls for an expediter in county government to help businesses through the permit process and for meeting with businesses to try to find ways to help them retain customers and grow.

Mr. Bellone says he has an economic plan that calls for creation of a “research triangle” that will try to create jobs in Suffolk based on the research at Stony Brook University, Brookhaven Lab and Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.

He so far has a big lead in campaign funding, having spent more than $2.6 million on his campaign in the last month compared to Ms. Carpenter’s total campaign expense of $307,892, according to recent campaign disclosure forms.

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11/07/11 6:13pm
11/07/2011 6:13 PM

Scott Russell and Robert Meguin

Two men are in the running for Southold supervisor, the town’s highest elected post, and both know a thing or two about public service.

Two-term incumbent Scott Russell, a former tax assessor, has won accolades from the public for his non-partisan style and fiscal responsibility. Challenging him is Robert Meguin, a criminal attorney and former advisor to county judges who has also served as Babylon budget director, a military policeman, and an architect of the town Democrats’ revitalization efforts launched last year.

Mr. Meguin, the town party’s coleader, readily admits to being a “reluctant candidate” who stepped in when no one else sought the nomination. He describes Mr. Russell as a free spender who when it comes to fiscal restraint “just doesn’t get it.”

Financial issues are also central to the Russell campaign, but the supervisor says he and the other Town Board members made difficult decisions during the early days of the national economic meltdown to lessen the blow on local taxpayers. Because of that, he says, Southold is far better off that many Long Island communities.

If re-elected, Mr. Russell hopes to complete several projects, including renegotiation of collective bargaining agreements with town employees, which will be on the table next year, and a comprehensive master plan slated to be finished in August 2013.

Mr. Meguin has advocated a regional approach to solving issues, including creating a light rail network to help alleviate East End traffic.

“Southold is a very diverse community,” Mr. Meguin said at a Suffolk Times candidates’ interview last Friday. “It’s becoming more and more diverse. We’re all very neighborhood conscious. We’ve got to break that mold. There are regional solutions.”

Mr. Russell, however, said that he understands the “Yankee libertarianism” mind set of many Southold residents.

“It’s hard to get people in East Marion to believe things that happen in Mattituck affect them,” he said. “We have a very straightforward approach to getting things done.”

Mr. Meguin called Mr. Russell a “caretaker” who seeks to appease voters instead of leading them. Mr. Russell argues that he’s made straightforward and nonpartisan governance a hallmark of his administration.

“I don’t want to apologize for looking to build consensus,” said Mr. Russell.

The Democratic Party had at one point considered cross-endorsing Mr. Russell, but Mr. Meguin said he thought “how are we supposed to be a credible party and have an alternative?”

He said, “I always thought there were people far brighter than me who could do this. That wasn’t the case this year.”

During the campaign, Mr. Meguin chastised Mr. Russell for proposing a small pay increase last year for himself and other elected officials. Mr. Russell, who said he hasn’t taken a pay raise in several years, dropped the proposal after public opposition.

“I work for them. I’m their employee. I listened,” said the supervisor.

The two view the Planning Board’s decision to approve a new 7-Eleven in Mattituck, which Democrats strongly opposed, quite differently

Mr. Meguin said that Planning Board members were afraid they’d be sued if they voted against the store, even though the burden of proof is very high for those challenging municipal decisions.

“It’s very hard for people to win,” he said. “There is great deference to municipalities’ decision.”

Mr. Russell said that, while the convenience store’s location on the corner of the dangerous intersection of Route 25 and Factory Avenue is not ideal, if 7-Eleven or “Joe and Mary Bag-of-Donuts” bought the 7-Eleven property, it would look nice because of Southold’s architectural review laws.

He added that in an effort to reduce traffic, the town is looking to the Mattituck Plaza shopping centers’ owners to create access to the store through the shopping center parking lot.

The two candidates are also at odds over the handling of the town’s lapsed police contract, which will be decided through binding arbitration.

Mr. Russell said that he had asked officers to accept a pay freeze in the first year of their contract, as the CSEA employees did a few years ago, but the union refused.

Mr. Meguin asks Mr. Russell if he’s willing to threaten to lay off police officers in order to force their hands.

“If we can’t cut the salaries, maybe we need to reduce the police force,” the challenger said. “Let’s face it, it’s the best job in this town.”

Mr. Russell, who used potential layoffs as a bargaining tool in his last negotiations with the civil service employees, said that he’s unable to do so with police. The department is already operating with a skeleton staff and is required by contract to maintain certain staffing levels.

Mr. Russell said that this is just one of many ways the town government is constrained by state laws.

Mr. Meguin said that Mr. Russell should be banging on doors at the state. Mr. Russell suggested that Mr. Meguin go to Governor Andrew Cuomo himself to challenge those issues. He added that Mr. Meguin, as a Democratic party leader in the town, might be able to get further in discussions with the governor, since they are both members of the same party.

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11/07/11 10:00am

We’ve got you covered.

That cheesy slogan, which I sometimes use to jokingly answer the phones here in the office, is appropriate for Election Night 2011. We’ll have reporters at the Republican and Democratic gatherings inSouthold and Riverhead towns, as well as with the Suffolk County committees up-Island. We’ll also be in contact with the independent candidates.

The editors will be live-blogging on election night, Tuesday, with quotes,  photos and general observations streaming in from all the reporters — all into one tidy box so readers won’t have to refresh their screens to get the ongoing results and reactions.

So login at RiverheadNewsReview.com on Election Night 2011 and stay with us for the latest.

• Good luck to all the candidates for public office who have been working hard since the summer and before in their individual efforts to get elected. We understand that participating in a campaign isn’t easy, dealing with not only the journalists but the party people and volunteers. And it’s all just to improve your hometown, right? (Well, we hope.) The least the rest of us can do is go out and vote on Tuesday.

• Long Island Restaurant Week Fall kicked off last night, Sunday. And as we reported, the promotion isn’t always a boon to area restaurants, but it’s a big win for patrons. Many of us don’t have the kind of expendable income to frequent some of the North Fork’s swankier restaurants.

These prix fix specials provide that opportunity.

We want to hear reader feedback. Do you plan to take advantage of restaurant week, and if so where, and why?

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11/05/11 7:11am
11/05/2011 7:11 AM

Just one incumbent is in the running for a seat on the Southold Town Board next week, but a full slate of candidates is nevertheless vying for the two available seats.

The lone incumbent is Republican Bill Ruland, a farmer who has been on the board since 2007. He previously served for 24 years as a member of the Mattituck School Board 13 years as president. Mr. Ruland has also served as director and vice president of the Long Island Farm Bureau.

With incumbent Republican Vincent Orlando’s decision against seeking a second term, the party nominated Jill Doherty, current president of the Town Trustees. Ms. Doherty is also a member and past president of the Mattituck Fire Department Ladies Auxiliary.

On the Democratic ticket are two Mattituck residents with long histories of community involvement.

Marie Domenici is a former manager of technology at American Express who also worked as a legislative aide to former state Assemblyman Marc Alessi. In addition, she served for two years as chairwoman of the town’s renewable energy committee. She’s been an outspoken opponent of high taxes at both the Mattituck-Cutchogue School District and Town Hall.

Nicholas Deegan, a carpenter by trade, has been active on the Southold Town parks and recreation committee and serves as a Mattituck Park District commissioner. He coached soccer and baseball for 14 years and was also active in the Mattituck Soccer Club.

This year the Democrats have been on the offensive, charging Republicans are guilty of dragging their feet on protecting Mattituck’s business district from overdevelopment and attempting to dismantle environmental laws.

In particular, Ms. Doherty has come under attack for her proposed changes to the wetland code, which are currently being reviewed by the town’s code committee.

“I believe that things were really twisted,” she said in an interview with The Suffolk Times’ editorial board last week. She took issue with Democrats’ charge that she wanted to eliminate the need for vegetative buffers between shoreline structures and wetlands.

“That’s not what proposed changes implied, that’s not what we meant,” she said. “There’s no way we’ll say you don’t have to have a buffer.”

Ms. Doherty said that half of the houses the Trustees are looking at are very old and are closer than 30 feet from the wetlands.

There’s no way those homeowners could comply with current laws. Her changes, she said, would help them mitigate any potential harm to the environment.

Ms. Domenici charged that some of the changes, including a provision to allow snow fences on beaches, would inhibit public access to the shore. Ms. Doherty said that, as the code is currently drafted, people would be able to go through marshes to get to beaches.

“It doesn’t make sense because there’s no way to get there,” said Ms. Doherty.

She added that snow fences can’t impede foot traffic.

“It doesn’t mean everybody is going to have a snow fence down to mean high water,” she said.

Ms. Doherty said she’s no stranger to taking a tough stance in protecting the environment, and pointed to her board’s vote last year to prevent the Suffolk County Water Authority from building a pipeline to Orient.

“As a Trustee, I have said no many times,” she said at a debate at Peconic Landing last Thursday. “You have to balance property rights, the environment and laws.”

Ms. Domenici has touted her commitment to the environment in her campaign, and said that she wants to help improve air quality in Southold and reduce helicopter traffic. She also says she wants to prevent “the insidious infiltration of corporate America” into Southold Town, particularly in Mattituck.

“We want to preserve keeping mom and pop working,” she said.

Ms. Domenici also takes a hard line on taxes and insists that there are many ways the town can do more with less. She’s said often on the campaign trail that “I want to live in Southold for the rest of my life. The way taxes are going I should be dead in three weeks.”

Her running mate, Mr. Deegan, has worked toward slowing development in Mattituck. He told The Suffolk Times this week that he believes the Town Board should have enacted a development moratorium while it put together the Mattituck corridor study last year.

“If we don’t address and get a good balance on what’s going on on the western edge of town, people aren’t going to want to come out here,” he said at the Peconic Landing debate.

Mr. Deegan also said he hopes the town does not allow the new 7-Eleven in Mattituck to open until roadwork scheduled by the state Department of Transportation for next spring is complete.

Mr. Deegan, who lives on Marlene Drive, was also involved in the effort to keep the entrances to the CVS in Mattituck on the side roads and off Route 25.

The business community and environmentalists must come together to do what’s best for the community, he said. Mr. Deegan describes himself as a fiscal conservative, a philosophy developed by spending 25 years as a small business owner.

Mr. Deegan also favors the idea of creating a new local new sports complex, perhaps run by a private nonprofit group in conjunction with the town. He said he’d like to get young people more involved in town government.

“People value the quality of life here. I want to preserve the agricultural quality of life and embrace the youth of the town,” he said at Thursday’s debate.

Mr. Ruland has run a low-key campaign, focusing on his record of public service, a great deal of which he has done without compensation as a school board member.

“I’ve lived in my community all my life. I’ve seen a lot of change,” he said at last Thursday’s debate. “When we say we want no change, we’re being naive. I’m a visionary and a conservative at the same time.”

Mr. Ruland has also touted the civility of the current Town Board in his campaign, and has said that he wants to continue to be part of a team that works well together.

“When you’re impulsive, it really gets you in trouble,” Mr. Ruland told the Suffolk Times editorial board last week. “Being informed has two sides … Usually there’s a conflict and you’ve been placed in the middle.”

He said that he makes his decision based on the question “What do you think is solely in the best interest of the people of Southold?”

Voters, he said are far more informed than they’re given credit for.

“I just leave it in the hands of the voters,” he said. “The voters’ will is absolute.”

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09/13/11 10:02am
09/13/2011 10:02 AM

The main event isn’t for another eight weeks, but a preliminary bout in this year’s town elections takes place today.

Conservative voters will head to the polls to decide whether GOP incumbent Justice Rudolph Bruer or Democratic challenger Brian Hughes will appear on that party’s line in November. Mr. Bruer received the party’s nod during convention season, but Mr. Hughes filed petitions to force a runoff.

“It’s a matter of giving people a choice,” said Mr. Hughes, a Southold attorney and former prosecutor. Like Mr. Bruer, he is a registered Republican.

“The fact that he’s an incumbent should not give him a pass over a more qualified candidate,” Mr. Hughes said.

Mr. Bruer has practiced law in Southold for 40 years and was first elected town justice in 1996. He did not respond to a request to be interviewed for this story.

Under state election law, judicial candidates must limit their campaign statements to their qualifications.

Mr. Hughes is a former state assistant attorney general, a former Brooklyn district attorney bureau chief and executive assistant district attorney.

In an Aug. 11 letter to The Suffolk Times, Southold Conservative Chairman Robert Goodale said of Mr. Bruer, “His was a voice or reason and understanding of the judicial process, having been doing it for years.” The leader added that his party believes the incumbent to be “the best and most balanced person for the job.”

Firing back a week later, Southold Democratic Chairman Art Tillman wrote, “No one to my knowledge has ever run for this office having the qualifications and experience of Brian Hughes.”

There are about 400 enrolled Conservatives in Southold.

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09/08/11 8:05am
09/08/2011 8:05 AM

There’s a fight on over Medicare, but for once Washington has nothing to do with it.

Looking to secure a second ballot line for its candidates in this year’s town elections, Southold’s Democratic Party has filed petitions with the county Board of Elections to create a “Save Medicare” line. It’s an often-used strategy designed to give voters reluctant to support candidates on a particular party line another option.

It’s also an effort to offset the GOP’s command of three lines, Republican, Conservative and Independence Party. The only non-Republican with Independence Party support is Democratic supervisor candidate Bob Meguin. Democratic town justice candidate Brian Hughes is challenging incumbent GOP Justice Rudolph Bruer in next Tuesday’s Conservative primary.

But the line won’t be added to the ballot until the board of elections rules on objections filed by a group of Southold Republicans challenging the petitions filed by the Democrats to secure the “Save Medicare” line.

Needing signatures from about 475 registered voters, the Democrats submitted over 600, said party chairman Art Tillman.

Conceding there’s always the chance some signatures might not pass scrutiny, the party “did the best we could,” Mr. Tillman said.

“The Republicans don’t want to allow voters to have a choice to voice their protest on proposed Republican cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.”

Denis Noncarrow, town GOP chairman, accused the Democrats of pursuing a dishonest political ploy.

“If you want another line, fine, but don’t scam the people into believing you’re going to do something about Medicare,” he said. “Scaring senior citizens into thinking we’re against Medicare is a lie. And what does a town councilman have to do with Medicare?”

Mr. Noncarrow would not commit to seeking court intervention if the elections board validates the “Save Medicare” line.

“Is it worth it? I don’t know,” he said. “It gets a little stupid after awhile.”

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