After only four days as a Republican nominee for Suffolk County Legislature, Manuel Vidal Jr. has dropped out of the race for the seat formerly held by newly Democratic State Sen. Monica Martinez.
Instead, his wife Maria Vidal will run in the March 19 special election.
William Garbarino, Islip Republican chairman, initially called Manuel Vidal’s decision “unfortunate.” But Garbarino lauded his new nominee on Friday when her name was filed at the Suffolk Board of Elections in Yaphank.
“She’s very intelligent, she knows the issues and has the pulse of the community,” Garbarino said.
Maria Vidal, 49, of North Bay Shore, works for Pronto, a Hispanic community service organization. She is making her first run for public office.
The three-way race in the Ninth District pits Vidal against Democrat Samuel Gonzalez, 57, of Brentwood, president of IBEW Local 1430, who also is backed by the Independence Party. Conservatives are running Suffolk OTB branch manager Anne Wiggins, 62, of Central Islip.
Registered Democrats outnumber Republicans 21,174 to 4,557 in the district. Conservatives have 304 voters, while 8,991 voters are not aligned with any party. The heavily minority district includes the communities of Brentwood, Central Islip and North Bay Shore.