Legis. Schneiderman mulls run for Suffolk comptroller

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Suffolk Legis. Jay Schneiderman, seen May 20, 2013,

Suffolk Legis. Jay Schneiderman, seen May 20, 2013, said Tuesday, April 29, 2014, he's considering running for county comptroller and has had talks with County Executive Steve Bellone. Photo Credit: James Escher

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Suffolk Legis. Jay Schneiderman said Tuesday he's considering running for county comptroller and has had talks with County Executive Steve Bellone.

"I think I'd make a good comptroller," said Schneiderman, an Independence Party member from Montauk. "I'm a numbers guy."

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Suffolk Water Authority chairman James Gaughran, a former county legislator, has already announced his interest in running for the Suffolk County  comptroller office as a Democrat.

Schneiderman, 52, said he expected to have a conversation with Suffolk Democratic County chairman Rich Schaffer about the race in the near term.

Bellone, in a statement, called Schneiderman a "good friend and I can't imagine any position he would be interested in seeking where he wouldn't have my full support."

Schaffer did not immediately respond to a call for comment Tuesday night. But he said earlier this month that Gaughran "will make a terrific candidate because of his experience overseeing the hundreds of employees at the water authority," and his decades as a lawyer and public official.

Schneiderman said he spoke to Gaughran last night. Gaughran could not immediately be reached for comment Tuesday.

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Schneiderman said, though, he doesn't foresee a primary.

"I don't see us fighting this out. The Democratic Party will have to choose who they want to be the candidate." Schneiderman said he'd need a major party line to run.
Bellone and lawmakers have proposed  to merge the office of comptroller with the county treasurer, to save money. Republican Comptroller Joseph Sawicki is term-limited and cannot seek re-election.

The proposal last year was struck down by the courts. But a new bill is expected this year from Democratic lawmakers.

Schneiderman is serving his last two-year term in the county legislature under term limits. He has also served as East Hampton town supervisor.

Schneiderman mentioned he is a graduate of Hauppauge High School -- something he did not emphasize in his South Fork legislative race last year.

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Schneiderman responded to questions after Newsday asked him about a telephone poll, which asked about a theoretical race with Suffolk Republican chairman John Jay LaValle. LaValle has said he is also seriously considering entering the race. Schneiderman said he had no knowledge of the poll.

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