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.

After spending months trying to woo Conservative Brookhaven Town Board member Jane Bonner to run for the Suffolk County Legislature, town Republicans are looking elsewhere for a candidate to take on Democratic Legis. Sarah Anker in the 6th Legislative District.

The three-term lawmaker from Mount Sinai, who won her last election by only 19 votes in a recount, is a perennial GOP target in a heavily Republican district.

One contender is Gary Pollakusky, 41, of Rocky Point, who was campaign manager two years ago for Steven Tricarico, deputy highway superintendent. Another contender is Frank Vetro, an internet radio host and real estate agent.

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“I know what we did right, where we went wrong and I know what it will take to win this race,” Pollakusky said. Citing county fee increases, he said, “The fiscal irresponsibility of Sarah and our legislature is absolutely astounding.”

Vetro said he has had “positive conversations” with John Jay LaValle, Suffolk GOP chair, and screened with the Conservative Party.

Brookhaven Republicans are looking for a candidate to challenge Suffolk County Legis. Sarah Anker, a three-term Democrat from Mount Sinai whose 6th Legislative District is heavily Republican. Photo Credit: James Escher

“My background is perfect for the job,” said Vetro, citing his work with youths involved in gangs or drugs, and his experience as a paralegal and in real estate dealing with issues such as zombie homes.

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Rich Schaffer, Suffolk Democratic chairman, said he was “confident Sarah will win because of the work she has done in the district and the support she has gotten from community groups.”