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As widely expected in recent weeks, Islip GOP Town Councilman Anthony Senft, one of those saddled with the Brentwood park dumping scandal, has withdrawn from the state Senate race to succeed Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley), who's been nominated to challenge Rep. Tim Bishop (D-Southampton) in November.
Senate Republican efforts to keep the seat may include putting town supervisor Tom Croci on the ballot instead. Party activists are also hoping their chances may be improved by a primary race involving petition challenges to Adrienne Esposito on the Democratic side.
What may be seen as a double switch comes as Sen. George Maziarz, a Niagara Republican, prepares to step aside at the end of his term, adding another seat that the upper house's GOP conference under leader Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre) must work to defend as Democrats claim a united front seeking majority control.
Here's the text of a statement sent Tuesday from Senft, who might otherwise have been running with an environmental fiasco weighing him down against Esposito, an environmental advocate, or longtime Democratic activist Joseph Fritz. Below it is a link to Rick Brand's story breaking the news. From Senft:
“I officially notified the Board of Elections I am declining the Republican, Conservative and Independence party nominations to run for the New York State Senate.
While difficult, my family and I reached this decision over the weekend and I informed Senate Leader Dean Skelos and the local party chairmen of my decision.
I am proud to have been nominated and I am grateful to the party leaders, campaign volunteers, and thousands of petition signers for their support of my candidacy. The conservative Republican message is the right one and I am very confident that I would have prevailed on Election Day.
The recent criminal acts of dumping at a Town of Islip park require that I shift my focus from running a senate campaign and direct my leadership and energy into the complete remediation and redevelopment of our park. As a Councilman for the Town of Islip I, along with my fellow Town Board Members, will continue to work for the constituents including working to repair the damage caused by those who have committed environmental crimes in our community. I will help ensure the perpetrators are brought to justice.
Job creation, lowering taxes and improving the quality of life for the residents of Islip will remain my top priorities.
Thank you to the voters for their confidence in my leadership and integrity. I will continue to work hard each day to assure you of my commitment to honest, responsible, and transparent Town government.
God bless this great country.”
Also this morning, Skelos released the following statement:
Last evening, Anthony Senft made the difficult decision to forgo a planned run for the State Senate's 3rd district seat in Suffolk County. By doing so, he has put the public's interest ahead of his own. This race should be about one thing and thing only: Do we go forward under the responsible bipartisan leadership of Senate Republicans or do we return to the days of Democrat dysfunction, which included enactment of the job-killing MTA payroll tax, elimination of the STAR rebate checks and a massive shift in school aid to New York City at Long Island's expense? We can't afford to go back to the days of all-Democrat control of our state government. There are many ways to serve, and I sincerely thank Anthony for his distinguished record of service to our country and his willingness to continue to represent the residents of the Town of Islip.