Southold Supervisor Scott Russell announced Tuesday that he will seek a fourth term leading the North Fork town -- a decision he said "has not been an easy one."
Russell, a Republican, said in a statement that he thought long and hard this year about whether he could continue to do his job "with the vigor and sense of purpose" he said he has displayed since taking office in 2006.
"I am confident that I can and will bring purpose, vision and vitality, and therefore I am seeking the nomination to continue to serve as Southold Town Supervisor," Russell said.
In June, Russell's estranged wife, Nuria, was arrested after breaking a window at the couple's home and allegedly violating an order of protection. In 2011, he took a two-week hiatus from his job, citing health issues following a reported domestic incident at his home. He also apologized to constituents after The Suffolk Times reported he fell asleep at a town board meeting in October.
Damon Rallis, a town employee, has announced he will seek the Democratic nomination to challenge Russell. Southold Democratic chairman Art Tillman said Tuesday that the party would post ads seeking candidates to screen in April.
Russell, 51, said he planned to screen with the Republican Party. Southold GOP chairman Peter McGreevy said the party would screen candidates in April.
"Scott has screened with the committee before and he's received the committee's support," McGreevy said Tuesday. "I expect this time the Southold GOP's faith and credit to Scott will be unwavering."
McGreevy said there were other names of candidates interested in running for supervisor. "We'll collect them all at the end of the month and bring them to the committee," he said.
The Southold Town Board is made up of five Republicans and one Conservative. GOP council members Jill Doherty and William Ruland are also up for re-election.
Russell, who earns $102,370 a year as supervisor, said Tuesday that he would seek to continue pushing a platform of environmental conservation and fiscal conservatism, and also address a need for affordable housing in Southold.
He said he took a long time to decide on a run because he had to "evaluate whether I had the stamina to continue at the pace that we set."
"I have excellent people around me," Russell added. "I'm convinced I can continue to work my hardest to continue to serve the people of this town."
Russell's first term, in 2006, was for two years. A few years later the town changed the term to four years.