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GOP leaders meet as new names emerge for Dean Skelos vacancy

Former Republican state Sen. Dean Skelos of Rockville

Former Republican state Sen. Dean Skelos of Rockville Centre Photo Credit: Bloomberg / Louis Lanzano

Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan met Friday with Nassau County Republican leader Joe Mondello to discuss the race for a key Senate vacancy as two other potential candidates emerged, sources said.

Republicans are considering Malverne Mayor Patricia McDonald and Hewlett Republican Club president Jim Vilardi to run on the party’s line to replace ex-Sen. Dean Skelos, the Rockville Centre Republican who was convicted on corruption charges last month.

They are among a half dozen GOP names that have been discussed, including Assemb. Brian Curran (R-Lynbrook), Hempstead Town Councilman Bruce Blakeman, and Nassau County Legis. Howard Kopel, of Lawrence, and Denise Ford, of Long Beach.

No decisions were made about the potential Republican candidate, despite the meeting between Flanagan and Mondello, sources said.

Nassau Democrats already have endorsed Assemb. Todd Kaminsky (D-Long Beach) to run for a seat that is essential to the Republicans’ razor-thin majority in the Senate. Kaminsky has reported raising $332,000 to run for the seat.

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