Suffolk Republicans and Conservatives say they won't back GOP Suffolk County...

Suffolk Republicans and Conservatives say they won't back GOP Suffolk County Clerk Judith Pascale, left, for reelection. The parties will nominate Smithtown Town Clerk Vincent Puleo, right, for the position. Credit: James Escher

Suffolk County Republicans and Conservatives have decided not to nominate longtime Suffolk County Clerk Judith Pascale for reelection in November.

The parties instead have endorsed Conservative Vincent Puleo, 68, of Nesconset, the Smithtown Town Clerk since 2006, as their candidate in November, Suffolk Republican Chairman Jesse Garcia told Newsday.

Pascale on Tuesday left open the possibility of running anyway, and the head of Suffolk's largest police union said she still had the union's "unwavering support."

Puleo had been expected to become the Conservative, Democratic and Independence parties’ nominee for county clerk in 2018, Garcia said.

But officials "unwound" the cross-endorsement deal to renominate Pascale for another term so she could complete projects that were in the works, Garcia said.

"Vinnie Puleo was one of the candidates under discussion four years ago, and we’re going to honor that commitment," Garcia said Monday.

Pascale, 74, of Moriches, said constituents, union leaders and others have reached out with, "expressions of support and encouragement, asking that I consider all options."

She continued: "And right now, that’s exactly what I’m doing."

Her options could include running in a Republican primary for county Clerk or waging a write-in campaign.

"Whatever direction she chooses to go, she will continue to have the unwavering support of the Suffolk County PBA," Police Benevolent Association President Noel DiGerolamo said.

Pascale, a Republican who has served as county clerk for 16 years, earns $197,681 a year, according to county budget documents.

She also receives an annual state pension of $115,956 from prior government work, according to the state comptroller’s office.

Puleo, who recently was reelected as Smithtown Town Clerk, told Newsday his selection by Republicans and Conservatives was "a surprise."

Puleo continued: "I don't know why they didn’t pick Judy, but I am humbled and I'm excited that they would choose me."

County Democrats have named Lisa Jimenez, 59, of Medford, to run for county Clerk, party spokesman Keith Davies said.

Jimenez is a human resources scheduling coordinator at Suffolk Off-Track Betting Corp., where she has worked for 42 years.

"I just want to give it my all," Jimenez said of her campaign for Clerk.

Garcia said days after party officials told Pascale of their selection of Puleo, Pascale terminated Chief Deputy Clerk Nicole DeLuca, a political appointee and Brookhaven Republican Ward 6 deputy.

"It is political retribution," Garcia said.

Pascale said Garcia was "totally wrong."

Pascale said DeLuca "was not fired as a result" of the nomination decision, but declined to elaborate on a personnel matter.

DeLuca said in a statement: "I am proud of my work, and grateful that I had the opportunity to serve each and every day as Chief Deputy County Clerk for the last 16 years."

Brookhaven Town Supervisor Ed Romaine, a former Suffolk County Clerk, said he has hired DeLuca to replace retiring town chief of operations Matt Miner.

Pascale said she has not yet picked a replacement for chief deputy clerk.

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