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.

Huntington Conservatives last week screened party member John Clark as a town highway superintendent candidate as Frank Tinari, the minor party’s town and county leader, called it “unlikely” that incumbent Peter Gunther will be considered for the nomination.

The State Division of Human Rights in February ruled that a sexual harassment complaint against Gunther by a highway department clerk typist should go to an administrative judge for a final determination. The case is pending, and Gunther has denied the allegations.

While Clark, a former deputy highway superintendent under Gunther, was screened, Tinari said no final decision on a nominee has been made. Tinari said Conservatives will hold further interviews that could include candidates from the Republican and Democratic parties.

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Several Conservative sources say Tinari told them Gunther said privately that he will not run. However, Tinari said only, “He’s going to make a decision when he feels it’s appropriate for him.” However, he added, “At this point, the committee is moving forward because it’s getting late in the process.” Gunther did not return calls for comment.

Toni Tepe, Huntington GOP chairwoman, said the GOP has one possible contender, Andrew Sorrentino, who owns an auto body shop and is interested in running.