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.

Suffolk County District Attorney contender Ray Perini last week was the first contender to begin fundraising, taking in nearly $40,000 in his latest bid for the Republican nomination.

More than 200 supporters attended the $150 per person event at the Tango Argentinian Steakhouse in Central Islip. Perini already had $55,234 on hand from his last district attorney bid four years ago when he lost to Democratic incumbent Thomas Spota in a GOP primary.

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The fundraiser came before interviews Republican leaders were expected to conduct Monday with potential district attorney candidates. Sources say they include State Supreme Court Justice Andrew Crecca and Patrick O’Connell, law partner of Conservative chairman Frank Tinari.

“Four years ago, I raised a lot of money without the party behind me,” Perini said. “They know I can raise the money for the campaign and this is further proof of it, and I’m sure they will be taking that into consideration. ”

Perini said five of 10 town GOP leaders attended the fundraiser, although John Jay LaValle, Suffolk GOP chairman, wasn’t there.