LI's 31 primary races a healthy sign

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This May 3, 2010 file photo shows a This May 3, 2010 file photo shows a "vote here" sign near a polling place open for early voting. Photo Credit: AP

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Joye Brown Newsday columnist Joye Brown

Joye Brown has been a columnist for Newsday since 2006. She joined the newspaper in 1983 and has

Primaries are busting out all over Tuesday -- 31 of them, in fact, in both counties, four Suffolk towns and two Nassau cities.

That's an unusually high number of candidates fighting for ballot lines -- and for some, more than one -- in the general election.

"While some of these primaries may have more significance than some others, more in elections is always better," said Michael Dawidziak, a political consultant who has run local campaigns for Republicans and Democrats.

"It kicks up excitement and offers residents a choice," he said.

And that's never a bad thing.

Most of the attention, thus far, has been on Tuesday's top draw: former Nassau County Executive Thomas Suozzi and businessman Adam Haber, who are fighting it out over the Democratic line for the executive job.

That race is one of just four among Democrats in Nassau and Suffolk. Most of the races in Nassau involve quests for the Independence line; most of those in Suffolk are battling over the right to the Republican spot on the ballot.

Which community wins for most primaries?

That goes to Huntington, where 15 candidates -- some more than once -- are fighting challengers in races for town supervisor, highway superintendent and council seats in Republican, Working Families, Independence and Democratic primaries.

The highway superintendent's race is particularly zesty, with three candidates fighting over the Democratic line.

In Smithtown, 14 candidates -- again, some more than once -- are scrambling in Republican and Conservative primaries for supervisor, clerk, highway superintendent and town council.

And how do challenges break down by job?

Judges win here.

A total of 18 candidates -- again, some more than once -- are seeking Independence and one Green party line in county, district and Long Beach judicial races.

Top of the ticket in Suffolk are two unexpected races, where incumbents District Attorney Thomas Spota and Sheriff Vincent DeMarco both face Republican primary challengers.

Tuesday could mark the only excitement Spota and DeMarco have during their runs for re-election. Because of a deal among party leaders, they're already running unopposed on several other party lines in the general election.

Attention Conservatives in Hempstead, there's a primary for town clerk.

Independents in Long Beach, there are four candidates seeking your line for three council seats; ditto Glen Cove, where seven candidates are looking to gain lines in six seats.

Heads up, Brookhaven Republicans, there's a battle in the Second District council race, while in Riverhead candidates for supervisor and council are vying for Democrat, Republican and Independence lines.

For Suffolk legislator, there are also primaries for Working Family in the 8th District; an unusually feisty Democratic battle in the 9th District; and three candidates vying for the Republican line in the 13th.

It's a festival of primaries.

So, belly up to the polls where you may. New York State does not have open primaries -- which is a bummer -- so only party members can vote in their party primaries.

No primary for you? Not to worry. The general election will be here in a snap.

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