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.

The Suffolk Legislature’s Democratic caucus re-elected Presiding Officer DuWayne Gregory as the $122,559-a-year legislative leader over the weekend even as he moves to challenge veteran Republican Rep. Peter King of Seaford next November.

Gregory’s election for a third term legislative leader comes after two Democratic congressional contenders in the first district who are headed toward a primary decided to step down from their public posts while seeking their House seat.

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Throne-Holst is exiting as Southampton supervisor at year’s end while venture capitalist David Calone gave up his unpaid role as chairman of the Suffolk County Planning Commission.

Gregory said his presiding officer job is “my primary responsibility and I take it seriously. Certainly running for congress takes some time, but l continue to do both as best I can.” He said no one in the caucus even raised the issue that he should consider stepping aside as leader.