Free elections and

4th Senate district

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It is one thing to praise retiring State Sen. Owen Johnson (R-West Babylon) for putting his constituents above politics and for his other accomplishments in office ["Johnson served us well," Editorial, July 18]. However, it is quite another thing to condone the subversion of the electoral process and the functional fixing of the state-senatorial election that went on in Johnson's district every two years.

Newsday's editorial board, in fact, refused to endorse a candidate in Johnson's most recent re-elections because it saw the impropriety of the collusion between Johnson and Suffolk County Democratic leader Richard Schaffer, which included the nomination of Johnson opponents who agreed to be mere names on the ballot and not to campaign.

Regardless of his legislative accomplishments, Johnson was a publicly elected official who was supposed to be subject to review by his constituents every two years. And Schaffer, in his position as county Democratic leader, is a privately elected party official who chose to act as a power broker as he saw fit.

John Massaro, St. James