Rick Brand Portrait of Newsday reporter Rick Brand taken on

Rick Brand is a longtime Newsday reporter who writes about politics and government on Long Island.

Veteran Democratic activist Joseph Fritz, a Brentwood lawyer, has entered the primary fray against law student John DeVito for the right to take on Republican State Sen. Thomas Croci this fall.

Richard Schaffer, Suffolk Democratic chairman, said the party will not take a position on the Third District contest and will permit committee members to circulate petitions for either candidate.

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Fritz, 71, is a former Bentwood school board member who once served as board vice president. He has also run for Suffolk County executive and Islip Town supervisor. Two years ago, Fritz made a bid to run for the Third District seat until his petitions were thrown out in a court challenge.

DeVito, 25, of Mastic Beach, is making his first bid for office. He has been campaigning for the nomination since January and has picked up the endorsement of Suffolk Legis. Kate Browning (WFP-Shirley).

Croci served less than one term as Islip Town supervisor and won a State Senate seat against environmentalist Adrienne Esposito in 2014.