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Long IslandPolitics

Tom Croci to face Montano, Fritz, DeVito in Dem primary

Sen. Tom Croci holds a press conference outside

Sen. Tom Croci holds a press conference outside the New York State Office Building in Hauppauge on Monday, Dec. 21, 2015, where he and Rep. Lee Zeldin called for greater measures to safeguard New York residents from terrorist acts. Photo Credit: James Carbone

Former Suffolk Legis. Rick Montano, longtime Democratic activist Joseph Fritz and newcomer John DeVito filed petitions Thursday to run a party primary Sept. 13 for the right to take on freshman State Sen. Tom Croci (R-Islip) in November.

Fritz, a former Brentwood school board member who has run for town supervisor, county lawmaker and judge, said he filed about 1,400 signatures, while DeVito, 25, a law school student taking a leave to run, said he put in 2,016 signatures with the aid of the Bookhaven Democratic committee. Montano filed 1,536 signatures. Candidates need a 1,000 signatures to qualify for the ballot.

While Montano and Fritz say they have they have not yet raised any money for their campaigns, DeVito said he so fa has raised $70,000 and has about $60,000 on hand.

A Montano ally, Giovanni Mata of Brentwood, also filed petitions with 1,508 signatures to challenge Assemb. Philip Ramos (D-Brentwood) in a party primary while Jordan Wilson of North Babylon filed petitions with 790 signatures to take on freshman Assemb. Kimberly Jean-Pierre (D-Wyandanch). Assembly contenders must have 500 signatures to qualify

Ramos said he has delivered for the district on school funding, holding the line on taxes by fighting wasteful school spending and battling charter school efforts that would weaken local public schools.

Jean-Pierre said she plans to run on her record where she has brought back more than $4.5 million to the district for projects, including playgrounds, flood mitigation and funding to combat heroin and opiod use.

A day earlier, Democrat Spencer Rumsey, 63, of Northport filed petitions with 734 signature to run against Assembly veteran Andy Raia (R-Northport). Rumsey, a senior editor for the Long Island Press, said he spoke to party officials earlier this year but decided recently to go on his own. Democratic officials say the party’s designated candidate, Kevin Mulholland, is likely to decline the party’s nomination in light of Rumsey’s candidacy.

Beyond races for elected office, election officials say warring factions of the Suffolk Conservative Party filed competing petitions for hundreds of party committee positions in a battle over the successor to ex-chairman Edward Walsh, who recently was convicted on federal corruption charges.

Walsh foes, led by Kennth Auerbach, Brookhaven Conservative co-leader, want to replace Frank Tinari, the party’s executive vice chairman and Huntington leader, who is acting leader until the party votes on a new chairman at a party convention in late September.

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