James O'Connor is now in the race fulltime for Suffolk...

James O'Connor is now in the race fulltime for Suffolk executive. Credit: Newsday

James O'Connor, the Republican candidate for Suffolk County executive, has taken a leave of absence from his law practice to campaign full time against Democratic incumbent Steve Bellone.

O'Connor, 52, an attorney from Great River, said he is organizing his campaign team, "hitting events in the evening" and developing a walking plan. He has hired The Public Relations and Marketing Group in Patchogue to handle mailings, media and other tasks.

While some voters have been away, O'Connor said he's gotten positive feedback. "The summer is tough, but the response is good," he said.

O'Connor, a former North Hempstead town board member who now lives in Great River, originally was going to campaign full time last month but decided to wait because many local civic groups don't meet then. He is a partner at the Manhattan law firm Maroney O'Connor LLP.

Bellone's campaign manager, Keith Davies, said Bellone "is focusing on protecting our tax dollars, fighting to improve the county's sewer infrastructure and working to revitalize downtowns.

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