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Suffolk Dems back Rouse for judge; Road post to open
Suffolk Democratic Chairman Richard Schaffer said late Monday that the party has decided to back Democratic Brookhaven Highway Superintendent John Rouse and Republican District Court Judge John Iliou for county court judge.
Schaffer said the Democrats’ backing of Rouse and Iliou was not part of any cross-endorsement deal with Republicans because he has had no discussions with officials of that party.
Republicans last week named Rouse as their judicial candidate in hopes of opening up the highway job and winning it back in a special election early next year. Before Rouse’s election, Republicans had dominated the highway superintendent’s job for about 40 years. The post controls both patronage and lucrative contracts that can generate campaign contributions.
However, Democratic Brookhaven Supervisor Mark Lesko last week said he is considering seeking a referendum in November to change the elected highway superintendent job to an appointed public works commissioner, similar to the posts in Islip and Babylon towns.
Schaffer said the party has backed Iliou in the past for county district court judge and that he is well known locally. He said Rouse’s nomination had the backing of both Lesko and town party leader Marc Alessi.
Schaffer’s decision came a day before all parties can begin circulating nominating petitions for the September primaries and November general election.