Republican candidate for Suffolk Surrogate Judge Tara Scully has added the ballot line of the Green Party in the November election and removed her one-time campaign spokesman Joe Latini.
The ballot line may not have much impact in the race since there are only 1,983 Green Party members in Suffolk County. However, the Green Party does have Row D on the ballot, ahead of the Independence, Working Families and Women’s Equality party lines. In 2012, Green Party activist Howard Hawkins got 184,000 votes statewide on the line. Scully is on the Reform Party line as well.
However, Ian Wilder, a member of the Suffolk Green Party's coordinating committee, said, “Scully does not have the support of the Green Party. She is on the Green Party line purely through machinations of Republican Party members. Not a single Green Party member carried a petition for her.”
Republican notaries circulated petitions for the Green Party line for their original Surrogate Court candidate Damon Hagan, and when he declined the nomination, Scully name was substituted. Unlike candidates for other offices, judicial contenders are permitted to seek the nomination of any party, without the authorization of party officials.
Meanwhile, the Suffolk Association of Municipal Employees had sent a letter to its 5,500 members raising concerns about Facebook posts made by Latini, especially one aimed at the county's largest union.
In that post, Latini stated: “If you are a municipal employee you can no longer be forced to be a union member, if you do not choose not to be. A major victory against municipal unions. I urge all Suffolk employees to CANCEL their AME memberships and teachers reject their mandated union dues.”
AME president Dan Levler said, “Suffolk AME will not tolerate or condone any inflammatory rhetoric that seeks only to hurt our union and members.” He said he called Scully and “expressed our concern” about Latini. “We are pleased to report she took immediate action and Joseph Latini is no longer affiliated with Scully’s campaign,” he said.
James Walsh, the campaign’s new press spokesman, confirmed Latini's exit from the campaign and said Scully is a “friend of labor” and “continues to build on her momentum.”
Richard Schaffer, Suffolk Democratic chairman, said, “When you run for judge, the first thing voters look for is someone who has good judgment. Tara Scully shows a total lack of judgment by allowing someone like Joe Latini to serve in a leadership role in her campaign.”
Earlier, nine female Democratic elected officials also assailed Latini’s Face bookposts, including one in January that criticized women protesting President Trump's policies.