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Long IslandPoliticsSpin Cycle

Suffolk GOP chair talks down 1st C.D. primary

Suffolk G.O.P. Chairman John Jay LaValle says he hopes against a primary contest to oppose nationally-targeted U.S. Rep. Tim Bishop (D-Southampton) next fall in the 1st C.D. “If the candidates truly are loyal Republicans and want to win the seat back, the best way to do that is to be united as a team,” he said. LaValle vows fair screenings, which begin tonight. He cast his appeal for unity in light of the reality that that all but a few incumbents retain their seats in general elections.

Three hopefuls drew buzz last week: former S.E.C. prosecutor George Demos, who’s raised more than $300,000; Chris Cox, son of state GOP chairman Ed Cox and grandson of late President Richard Nixon, and businessman Randy Altschuler. (Chairman Cox told colleagues he’s staying out of this).

But, four others have come forward too: ex-CIA man Gary Bernsten, teacher Richard Blumenthal, importer James Staudenraus and Frederick Meyer of Riverhead. LaValle emphasized that he is not tilting for or against anyone's candidacy, that incumbent Bishop is beatable given Democratic actions in Washington, and that having a number of candidates come forward is a healthy sign with implications for other races and candidacies.

"The Suffolk Republican Party is back," LaValle declared.

Bishop's man Jon Schneider criticized the first three -- Cox, Altschuler and Demos -- has having had very limited periods of residence in the district's communities.

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