Suffolk Republicans have named Conservative Anthony Senft, a freshman Islip Town board member, as their candidate to succeed state Sen. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley), who is now running for Congress, party officials said.
John Jay LaValle, Suffolk Republican chairman, called Senft a "tremendous candidate" and a "real class act," citing his background as a former paratrooper and prosecutor while in the Army.
Senft, whose candidacy was heavily pushed by Suffolk Conservative Party chairman Edward Walsh, was chosen over the more senior Brookhaven Town board member Timothy Mazzei, a former assistant district attorney, who LaValle said will now be a leading GOP candidate for one of two county court judge nominations up for election in November.
Two other early State Senate contenders, Islip Supervisor Tom Croci, now serving in the Middle East as a military reservist, and former Assemb. Dean Murray of East Patchogue, dropped out of the running in recent weeks.
Murray on Monday announced his decision to seek his former seat in a rematch against Democratic Assemb. Edward Hennessey of East Moriches.
The leading contender for the Democratic nomination is environmentalist Adrienne Esposito, longtime executive director of Citizens Campaign for the Environment, but she has not made a final decision about the race.