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Republican Robert Trotta expected to announce Suffolk County executive run

Suffolk County Legis. Robert Trotta (R-Fort Salonga) at

Suffolk County Legis. Robert Trotta (R-Fort Salonga) at the county legislative building in Hauppauge on Thursday. Credit: James Carbone

Republican Suffolk Legis. Robert Trotta is expected to declare his candidacy Tuesday to take on Democratic County Executive Steve Bellone.

Trotta, a retired police detective from Fort Salonga, will hold in a news conference at 11 a.m. outside the county legislature building in Hauppauge.

Trotta, 57, would only say Monday that he would be making an announcement tomorrow "regarding my run for county executive.”

But a new website that's already gone online — “Robert Trotta for County Executive” — promises “to make Suffolk affordable again.”

Trotta has attacked Bellone for negotiating an expensive police contract, and for hiring former county Police Chief James Burke, who was convicted on federal charges of beating a burglary suspect and then orchestrating a cover-up of the assault.

Trotta also has criticized Bellone for imposing millions of dollars in back-door taxes by imposing “illegal fees” that total far more the county services cost.

In an interview, Trotta said, “It’s time to end the corruption and pay-to-play mentality in Suffolk County.”

Bellone had no immediate comment, said his spokesman.

Republican county Comptroller John M. Kennedy Jr. also is weighing a county executive run.

Kennedy said earlier this month he would make a decision “within 10 days,” which would put his announcement sometime this week.

“It’s a wide open race with as many capable candidates as we can get,” said Kennedy. “We need the best and brightest contenders so Suffolk can survive.”

Legis. Tom Cilmi (R-Bay Shore), legislative minority leader, said he also is considering the race, but has given no time line for his decision.

Republican Peter Hahn, a former union official from Center Moriches, has formed an executive campaign committee, but so far has not reported any campaign contributions.

Kennedy has about $120,000 on hand, Cilmi, $71,762, and Trotta, $38,000.

Suffolk Republican Chairman John Jay LaValle praised the possible GOP contenders.

“God knows, we need substantial change," said LaValle. "Suffolk is in much worse shape than residents realize, or Steve Bellone is letting on, as a result of his misspending and mismanagement.”

Under state legislation passed in January, political party conventions will be held shortly before nominating petitions hit the streets Feb. 26. Petitions are due back April 1 and a primary, if needed, will be held June 26, rather than in September.

Four years ago, county executive candidates needed at least2,000 valid signatures to qualify for the ballot.

Trotta faces re-election to the county legislature and cannot run for two elected jobs at once.

Kennedy, who narrowly won re-election last year to a new four-year term as comptroller, would not have to give up his seat to make the race.

LaValle said he does not foresee a GOP primary and believes “everyone will sit down and come up with a unified approach.”


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