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Special election set for May 25 to fill Suffolk legislature vacancy

The Suffolk County Legislature voted Tuesday to set

The Suffolk County Legislature voted Tuesday to set the date for the special election between Republican James Mazzarella, left, and Democrat Kate Browning. Credit: Suffolk County Republican Party/James Escher

A special election will be held May 25 to fill the Suffolk County Legislature’s 3rd District seat left vacant by the resignation of former Republican Legis. Rudy Sunderman, officials said.

Democrat Kate Browning, who had held the seat until she was term-limited in 2017, and Republican James Mazzarella, a union official, are vying for the job to represent south-central Brookhaven Town.

Browning, 61, of Shirley, is director of code enforcement in Babylon Town. Mazzarella, 55, of Moriches, is secretary treasurer of Long Island Public Section Employees union Local 342, and also serves on the Brookhaven Town Board of Zoning Appeals.

The Suffolk County Legislature voted Tuesday to set the date for the special election, which under county law must occur within 90 days of a vacancy.

Sunderman, who was sworn into office in 2018, stepped down March 21 to become deputy director of the Suffolk County Fire Academy.

Sunderman was indicted in July 2019 for telling the county ethics board falsely that he no longer worked for the Centereach Fire District, the county District Attorney's office said.

Suffolk County legislators are not permitted to hold two paid public jobs at once.

Sunderman, 51, of Mastic, pleaded guilty on March 26 to misdemeanor filing of a false financial disclosure form with the ethics board, prosecutors said.

Sunderman said he failed to answer two questions on a financial disclosure form.

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