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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.
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.”