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GOP candidates eye Chad Lupinacci’s former Assembly seat

Chad Lupinacci, seen here on Jan. 2,

Chad Lupinacci, seen here on Jan. 2, 2018. Credit: Newsday / Deborah Morris

Two Republican contenders have emerged as possible candidates in the upcoming special election for the state Assembly seat formerly held by Chad Lupinacci, now Huntington’s GOP supervisor.

Toni Tepe, Huntington GOP chairwoman, said one contender is Rob Conte, 52, brother of late Assemb. James Conte and currently an aide to state Sen. Carl Marcellino (R-Syosset). Conte, of Huntington Station, ran unsuccessfully for Suffolk County Legislature in 2013.

The other is Janet Smitelli, 56, a trial lawyer who has practiced for 30 years, Tepe said. Smitelli ran unsuccessfully for county legislature in 2015.

Another name that has surfaced is that of Lloyd Harbor automotive industry manager George Schwertl, whom GOP officials eyed as a possible opponent to Suffolk Legis. William Spencer (D-Centerport) in 2015. Schwertl also ran a close but losing race against Lloyd Harbor Mayor Leland Hairr in 2011.

Tepe said she expects the town Republican Committee to meet during the weekend to make a selection for the April 24 contest.

Democrats are expected to nominate former Suffolk Legis. Steve Stern, who left office at year’s end because he was term-limited.

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