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Suffolk Democrats go after Republican Anthony Piccirillo in legislature race

In Suffolk County's 8th Legislative District, William J.

In Suffolk County's 8th Legislative District, William J. Lindsay III, left, the Democratic incumbent, is in a battle with Republican Anthony Piccirillo. Credit: James Escher

At Ground Zero of Suffolk’s most competitive county legislature race, Democrats late last week launched their first shells against Republican Anthony Piccirillo, who is in an already incendiary rematch with Legis. William Lindsay III (D-Bohemia).

A formal complaint was filed last Thursday with the state Board of Elections saying Piccirillo had failed to file five separate campaign finance reports since January. In a separate salvo, Democrats attacked Piccirillo, who calls himself a fiscal conservative, after a Bohemia apartment complex sought a "final judgment of eviction” against him in District Court over $3,244 in unpaid rent and late fees.

The attacks come weeks after Piccirillo, who lost to Lindsay by 244 votes two years ago, defeated Lindsay this year in primaries for the Conservative and Independence Party ballot lines for their rematch.

The 8th District seat is the GOP’s best shot at reducing Democrats’ 11-7 legislative majority. And a two-seat swing could create a 9-9 deadlock, which could put selection of the next legislative presiding officer into the hands of Republican County Clerk Judith Pascale.

Other battlegrounds include the South Fork’s 2nd District and the 11th District in Islip.

“I want to talk policy and all they want to do is sling mud,” Piccirillo said of Democrats. “But I’m not going to sit back and get punched in the face.”

Democrat James Bertsch of Sayville, who made the complaint to the state elections board over Piccirillo's campaign filings, said, “I’m not sure if Mr. Piccirillo is hiding things, or if he is just continuing the trend of irresponsibility. Either way … he is not fit for office.”

Piccirillo said he was unaware required campaign finance reports had gone unfiled until he was questioned about it. But he called it a technical problem he will fix immediately.

Piccirillo also countered that Lindsay’s 10-day post-primary filing was due July 5 and wasn’t filed until July 17.  

He said Bertsch was helping Lindsay because the county lawmaker did a robocall for him last spring when Bertsch ran a winning school board race.

Richard Schaffer, Suffolk Democratic chairman, said, “We’re just showing who the real Anthony Piccirillo is. How can he manage county finances when he can’t even manage his own campaign account?” 

Of the eviction notice, Piccirillo said the apartment complex made a mistake and charged him $5,000 in rent when it was only $2,600 a month.

“They acknowledged it was their fault and said there is no need to go to court,” said Piccirillo, who has moved back to his family home in Holtsville with his ailing mother.

Jesse Garcia, Suffolk GOP chairman, said “Lindsay can’t run on his own record so they are trying character assassination. Democrats will say and do anything to preserve junk bond Bellone and his rubber stamp county legislature.”

In the 3rd District, meanwhile, Democrats say they have virtually no chance of unseating freshman Legis. Rudolph Sunderman (R-Shirley), who is facing nine counts of perjury and other criminal charges. Suffolk prosecutors said Sunderman continued to work as a Centereach Fire District official even after an ethics board told him he would have to quit that position when he became a lawmaker. 

Democrats are running Daryl Edelstein, an assistant elections commissioner and son of former Commissioner Gerald Edelstein. Edelstein, of Bellport, is not campaigning actively and declined to comment on Sunderman’s indictment.

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