In a surprise early endorsement, Noel DiGerolamo, president of the Suffolk Police Benevolent Association, said he is backing Republican Comptroller John M. Kennedy Jr. for re-election over Democratic challenger Jay Schneiderman, the Southampton town supervisor.
DiGerolamo said his backing for Kennedy came after he had a conversation with Schneiderman about his reasons for running. “Jay told me he was approached by Steve [Bellone, the Suffolk County executive] who asked him to run,” DiGerolamo said. “I don’t believe that’s a valid reason to run. . . . There’s a difference between someone who wants a title and position and someone who wants to do the job.”
DiGerolamo said Kennedy has done “a fantastic job” as comptroller, saving money through refinancings and bringing in funds by audits and increased enforcement of the motel/hotel tax.
Schneiderman said he is “disappointed the PBA is not even looking at me based on my 18-year record of cutting taxes” and past support he has received from the union. Schneiderman said the union leader made clear he was backing Kennedy before he ever entered the race.
Of Bellone’s endorsement, Schneiderman said, “I appreciate the county executive’s support, but he will receive equal scrutiny as any other person we review” if elected.
DiGerolamo also said he is supporting Republican County Clerk Judith Pascale, whose fortunes briefly appeared in jeopardy during recent cross-endorsement talks between Conservatives and the major parties. Both Kennedy and Pascale got GOP backing last week.