Suffolk GOP to endorse Democratic DA Thomas Spota
Suffolk Republicans say they will endorse Democratic District Attorney Thomas Spota for a second time along with Republican Treasurer Angie Carpenter and Conservative Sheriff Vincent DeMarco, leaving all of them to run unopposed.
The party leaders' decision comes after Spota, DeMarco and GOP County Clerk Judith Pascale in September won a court decision throwing out part of Suffolk's term limit law, which bars county elected officials from serving more than 12 years. State Supreme Court Justice Ralph Gazzillo said county lawmakers did not have the authority to impose term limits on offices created in the state constitution.
"He's [Spota's] done a good job and we don't see why we should change course," said John Jay LaValle, Suffolk GOP chairman. "But should term limits be upheld, we are very confident we have some extremely well-qualified candidates to succeed Tom Spota."
Richard Schaffer, Suffolk Democratic chairman, could not be reached Tuesday but earlier said his party will back all three officials.
Edward Walsh, Suffolk Conservative leader, said the party will meet soon to authorize Spota and Carpenter to run on their party's ballot line and to renominate DeMarco.
Frank MacKay, state and Suffolk Independence Party chairman, said his party backed all three candidates in December.
Spota, 71, who has yet to publicly announce for re-election, declined to comment.
The fate of an appeal is uncertain because Gazzillo also rejected an attempt by Peter Nichols of Huntington to intervene in the case.
His attorney Bruce Plesser of Gulfport, Fla., filed appeal papers. He said the Appellate Division initially rejected the petition without prejudice because the Suffolk County Legislature had not decided whether to appeal. The legislature last week rejected a motion to appeal Gazzillo's ruling, and Plesser said he will refile court papers.