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Nicholas LaLota, Suffolk GOP elections commissioner, recuses himself in 8th LD count

Nicholas LaLota, Suffolk Republican Board of Elections, is

Nicholas LaLota, Suffolk Republican Board of Elections, is shown in the warehouse at the board's office in Yaphank on Feb. 25, 2016. Credit: Newsday/John Paraskevas

Nicholas LaLota, the Republican Suffolk County Board of Elections commissioner, said he will recuse himself from overseeing the 8th legislative district's final ballot count after hosting a fundraiser for Republican candidate Anthony Piccirillo last month.

LaLota said that while he was not required to recuse himself in the tight race, he did so to make Democratic incumbent William J. Lindsay III (D-Bohemia) more comfortable with the results.

“I’m happy to defer to Mr. Lindsay so he is certain he gets absolute fairness by the Board of Elections,” LaLota said.

Lindsay, who trails Piccirillo by 223 votes in unofficial returns, said LaLota had “tainted” himself as an arbiter by throwing a “Cocktails on the Canal”-themed fundraiser Piccirillo on Oct.1.

“I equated it to going into a courtroom and the judge is also the defendant or the plaintiff,” Lindsay said.

LaLota, who has defended his right to support political candidates, offered to recuse himself in a text message to Lindsay Thursday after Democratic officials had called for his recusal.

Deputy GOP elections Commissioner Erin McTiernan will take LaLota’s place in overseeing the count of affidavit and absentee ballots alongside Democratic Commissioner Anita Katz. The count is expected to begin Wednesday .

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