The Democratic candidates for Islip Town board have abruptly dropped out of the race less than a month after receiving the party's formal nomination, leaving Democrats scrambling to find replacements amid a possible primary fight.
Party leaders are expected to announce replacement candidates Wednesday, following the departure of Ken Mangan and Dafny Irizarry. Among the possible replacements is Astrid Fidelia, 56, of Islip, officials said.
Mangan, a small-business owner from Sayville, confirmed Monday he was leaving the race; Irizarry, a teacher from East Islip, said last week she was dropping out. Both said the move was due to increasing work commitments.
Meanwhile, a primary could be on the horizon. Democratic Party sources said former Islip Democratic chairman Ivan Young, an attorney, and Deborah Slinkosky, who has run for town office in the past, are circulating petitions to run a Democratic town board primary.
Slinkosky said Monday she and Young, who did not return calls seeking comment, were "not discussing those plans right now," but added, "We're kind of hoping the party will consider Ivan and I."
Gerry Pallotta, chairman of the Islip Democratic Committee, declined Monday to answer questions about the departures and the impact on the race and the party.
He called Mangan and Irizarry, "excellent candidates, who would have made excellent council people . . . But opportunity and work commitments prevented them from doing much."
Michael Dawidziak, a Long Island political consultant who has mostly worked for Republicans, said the timing is a "mess."
"There's no good spin you can put on this," he said.
Islip Republican committee chairman Frank A. Tantone said he sympathized with the Democrats.
"I'm interested to see who they'll substitute in," Tantone said. "It's unfortunate that neither one of them could run . . . I sympathize. It's hard to find candidates these days."
GOP Councilman Steven J. Flotteron, who is running for re-election with fellow GOP incumbent Trish Bergin Weichbrodt, said he wasn't surprised.
"I've been hearing about a lot of different turmoil in the party," said Flotteron, who is running for a third term. "Who am I running against now?"
He added that the Democrats are "having a little problem because myself and Trish are strong candidates. We've done a lot of things. I have a lot of Democrats who support me."