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Primary fever just keeps growing in the ranks of Smithtown Republicans.
Republican union leader Mario Mattera, has decided to challenge GOP designee Paul Hennings, a town zoning appeal attorney, for the legislative seat being vacated by term-limited Legis. Lynne Nowick.
Mattera joins Nowick is running a GOP town board primary as well as Robert Creighton, who is challenging longtime GOP town Supervisor Patrick Vecchio.
Mattera, 49, a lifelong Smithtown resident who now resides in St. James, is business agent for Plumbers Local 200. Although he is a first-time candidate, Mattera said he is better qualified for the post because he has lobbied and appeared before county lawmakers repeatedly over the past decade, seeking sewers to promote economic development and jobs. He also said he is backing Pat Vecchio’s re-election as supervisor.
Mattera, who expects widespread union support, said his county experience also includes serving on the county’s workforce housing commission, the county plumbing licensing board and the Riverhead Empire Zone Board, which helped work out incentives for Canon USA to move its corporate headquarters to Melville. Mattera said his campaign manager is William Majuk, a longtime GOP operative who was once was chief of staff for late former Presiding Officer William Richards.
Hennings was muted in his reaction. “We both screened, and the committee picked me” he said. “I think that says it all.”