In a show of unity, Carpenter's nomination was seconded by Assemb. Michael Fitzpatrick (R-St. James), the other remaining GOP contender who learned on his drive from Albany that he was not the party's choice. "Angie is one classy lady," he said. And Suffolk Conservative chairman Edward Walsh, who party sources said originally had opposed Carpenter, also made an appearance to show support.
"The Republican Party will show everyone we are invincible," said Carpenter, 67, as she accepted the party's nod before 300 cheering GOP activists. "And when we are joined by the Conservative, we are over the top invincible."
Party officials settled on Carpenter only hours before the convention at the Smithtown Sheraton in Hauppauge, where small signs with "Angie" and "Carpenter for the county" adorned the lectern and walls. To a cheering crowd, John Galla, Riverhead GOP chairman, said, "If you're going to build a new Suffolk County, you have to start with a Carpenter."
Rick Fromberg, a spokesman for Democratic county executive candidate Steve Bellone, said, "We welcome her to the race and look forward to a positive discussion of the issues."
Though higher profile names such as state Sen. John Flanagan (R-Northport) and former Rep. Rick Lazio were recruited and demurred, Carpenter, the only formally announced contender, repeated her mantra there would be "no on-the-job training" for her candidacy. In her acceptance speech, she called for increased cooperation between the executive and county legislature and increased efforts to encourage local business.
Frank Tantone, Islip GOP chairman, said party officials selected Carpenter because she has already run and won twice countywide. "People in East Hampton know her," he said, "Because they have already voted for her twice."
Suffolk Republicans also designated their six incumbent county lawmakers for election and named these new candidates: 2nd Legislative District, Cornelius Kelly of Westhampton Beach; 3rd district, Susan Sineo of Manorville; 6th district, Karen Wilutis of Miller Place; 7th district, John Giannott of East Patchogue; 8th district, Anthony Musumeci of Bohemia; 16th district, Conservative Deborah Poulos; 17th district, Independence Party member Dennis Garetano of Huntington Station; and 18th district, Elizabeth Black of Huntington. The GOP left nomination for four legislative seats open.