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Independence Party to screen House candidates at Oheka Castle

The Nassau and Suffolk Independence Party will screen candidates for Long Island House seats this weekend at Oheka Castle, the minor party’s top official said Thursday.

Frank MacKay, state and Suffolk Independence party chairman, said the screening will be  Saturday at the Woodbury estate of developer and political player Gary Melius, who was shot in the head by a masked gunman Monday and remains hospitalized.

As many as a dozen contenders could appear before minor party officials, said MacKay, although he could not provide a list of those who have agreed to attend.

MacKay said the screening was planned before the shooting and will go forward despite it. He said his party has used the castle for screening contenders each year since 2008, usually in the Chaplin room, named for Charlie Chaplin, the silent film star whose memorabilia is displayed on the walls. The screenings were scheduled for this weekend, because candidates in the five congressional districts in Nassau and Suffolk will begin circulating petitions to get on the ballot beginning Tuesday.

“We never hesitated. It’s business as usual,” said MacKay, a close ally of Melius. “Gary may not be here in person, but he’ll be here in spirit.”

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