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Independence Party picks Vincent Messina for attorney general

The New York Independence Party has named Suffolk elections attorney Vincent Messina, a Republican, as its candidate for state attorney general.

Frank MacKay, state and Suffolk Independence Party chairman, said the party designated Messina, 56, of Holbrook, as its nominee Tuesday.

Messina served for 13 years as Islip Town attorney. He is the son of the late Jeanette Messina, a Republican who became the town’s first female supervisor after Peter McGowan resigned before his conviction for misusing campaign funds.

Messina also is a law partner with Jonathan Sinnreich, who as an outside attorney for Oyster Bay advised strongly that the town not guarantee loans for restaurateur Harendra Singh.

“We know it’s an uphill battle,” said MacKay. He called Messina “a brilliant attorney and if he were ever elected he’d be as good an attorney as any ever elected.”

Messina said, “I’m honored the party thought of me.”

Messina is representing the Suffolk Conservative Committee, which is fighting a challenge to the 2016 election of Frank Tinari as county Conservative chairman.

Whether Messina will remain an attorney general contender through Election Day is unclear. He could be what is known as “a space holder” candidate who could remain the minor party nominee until after the results of September primaries for attorney general are known.

At that point, the minor party could nominate Messina for a state Supreme Court judgeship anywhere in the state.

That would allow him to exit the attorney general’s race and free the ballot line for the Independence Party to fill with the winner of one of the major party primaries.

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