Suffolk GOP judge choices could pose risk for sitting Democrat

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Republicans plan to nominate Islip District Court Judge Philip Goglas for county court judge along with Brookhaven town board member Tim Mazzei, according to high-level party sources. That could put at major risk incumbent Democratic County Court Judge Barbara Kahn of Lloyd Harbor, who is up for re-election.

Kahn won her county court judgeship a decade ago in a cross-endorsement deal that also included former Republican Suffolk lawmaker Andrew Crecca, now a State Supreme Court judge. However, Kahn first got on the bench in a major 1995 upset for district court judge in Huntington, where her husband Saul Fenchel, a high-powered Garden City-based property tax lawyer, spent more than $100,000 on a campaign that included TV ads, direct mail, as many as 1,000 lawn signs and even an air force — planes that flew over the town and polling places with Kahn campaign banners trailing behind.

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However, Kahn’s upset victory also came from crucial backing of the Conservatives and she is likely to have a harder time this year. Edward Walsh, Suffolk Conservative chairman, said he expect his minor party to back Goglas and Mazzei, saying, "We make a very good team.” However, Richard Schaffer, Suffolk Democratic chairman, countered that Kahn will remain a formidable contender because she has a strong reputation as a judge. “She’s known to be a very tough judge particularly on sex offenders,” he said. “And those practicing in county court know her to be very fair but tough.”
 

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