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Jay Schneiderman mulls race for Suffolk comptroller

Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman, a Democrat, says

Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman, a Democrat, says he is considering a run against Suffolk Comptroller John M. Kennedy in November. Credit: James Escher

Southampton Supervisor Jay Schneiderman says he is seriously considering a run against Suffolk Comptroller John M. Kennedy in November and expects to make a final decision about his candidacy next month.

“I love being supervisor,” said Schneiderman, 55, who is in his second term. “But I spent 12 years as a county legislator, understand the county budget and I have a unique 18 year record of holding the line on taxes,” as a county lawmaker and the top official in both Southampton and East Hampton towns.

Schneiderman weighed running for comptroller in 2014 when fellow lawmaker Kennedy first ran. Schneiderman had the backing of County Executive Steve Bellone, but Richard Schaffer, Suffolk Democratic chairman, backed James Gaughran, chairman of the Suffolk County Water Authority, who lost to Kennedy.

Schneiderman declined to comment about whether he has spoken to Bellone about the race. But Bellone recently attacked Kennedy’s effort to negotiate sales of up to $565 million in short-term cash flow borrowing to react to volatile markets. Some Republicans say Bellone wants to knock out Kennedy to avoid having him as a possible opponent for county executive.

Schaffer called Schneiderman a “proven vote-getter,” and said no other Democrats have approached him about running. But he said, “We worked hard to get a majority in Southampton [on the town board] and we have to weigh that in light of a countywide run.”

Kennedy, said he “welcomes any and all comers.” He said he will run on his record of saving $35 million in interest costs with refinancings, increasing audit recoveries over the last three years from $2.8 million to $8 million and boosting annual hotel motel tax revenues.

Of Schneiderman, Kennedy said, “He was always a stringent advocate for his local constituents and I’d encourage him to keep doing that.”

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