Nassau Republicans will not allow Hempstead Town clerk Mark Bonilla to run with their endorsement if he decides to seek re-election this year, a high-ranking party source said.
Bonilla was charged in September with misdemeanors related to allegations he tried to obtain "intimate and personal photographs" of a female subordinate who had accused him of sexual harassment, according to a criminal complaint. He is up for re-election in November, but has not declared whether he will run.
A high-ranking source within the Nassau Republican Party said this week that Bonilla "will clearly not be the Republican candidate" for the post, and that the decision is "absolutely" because of Bonilla's ongoing legal case.
Bonilla, who has been the town clerk for close to a decade and earns $129,500 annually, called the party's decision "their prerogative." He said he might consider running on a different ticket or competing in a primary for the Republican nod, but he isn't sure yet whether he will run at all.
"If the voters tell me they want me to primary, maybe that's what I'll do," Bonilla said. "Not all of the voters are part of the Republican-controlled committee."
Nassau Democrats do not have a candidate for Hempstead Town clerk yet but are considering several, party chairman Jay Jacobs said. Democrats "would consider" endorsing Bonilla if he switched parties, Jacobs said, but "the legal issue that he's dealing with right now is a complicating factor."
A spokesman for the Working Families Party declined to comment. Attempts to reach representatives for the Independence and Conservative parties were not successful.
A group of civic organizations and pastors is holding a $50-per-person fundraiser for Bonilla at Manor East in Massapequa on March 13. The event is to show support for the clerk, said Max Rodriguez, president of Club Civico Cubano of Long Island, who is helping run the event.
Proceeds from the event will not necessarily go into Bonilla's campaign coffers, said Rodriguez and Bonilla. They also could be used for his charitable endeavors or legal defense, Bonilla said.
"People within many groups support him," Rodriguez said.
Bonilla is charged with two counts of official misconduct, coercion and attempted petty larceny. He is due in District Court in Hempstead on March 11.
A spokesman for the district attorney's office said Bonilla faces up to a year in jail if convicted.