Suffolk County Republicans on Monday selected Mario Mattera, a local union official and water authority board member, to run for the seat being vacated by longtime Sen. John Flanagan.
Mattera, 57, will be the “voice for the working men and women who will rebuild our state," Suffolk GOP leader Jesse Garcia said. Town GOP committees in Smithtown and Huntington also backed the selection.
Mattera, a St. James resident, has been the business agent for the plumbers Local Union 200 since 2003 and a member of the county water authority board. He hasn’t held elected office before, though he ran unsuccessfully in a 2013 Republican primary for county legislature, Garcia said.
The race to represent the 2nd Senate District, contained wholly within Suffolk, now pits Mattera against Democrat Mike Siderakis, 51, a retired state trooper.
Flanagan, 58, once New York’s top Republican, announced last week he won’t run for reelection after 18 years in the Senate. The East Northport resident served as state assemblyman from 1987-2002, before being elected to the Senate. As majority leader of the state Senate from 2015-2018, he had a hand in crafting state budgets and all legislation flowing through Albany.
But Republicans suffered huge Senate defeats in 2018 — dropping from a majority to a 40-23 disadvantage in the chamber and spurring numerous Senate retirements. On Long Island, Flanagan and Sen. Kenneth LaValle (R-Port Jefferson) have announced they won’t run again.
Flanagan endorsed Mattera, saying he will “fight back against one-party control in Albany and will be a driving force to help move our economy in the right direction.”