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Sources: Gay Suffolk GOP candidate Amos Goodman denied Conservative backing

Amos Goodman, Republican candidate for Suffolk County Legislature

Amos Goodman, Republican candidate for Suffolk County Legislature 2nd District, poses for a portrait at the party's countywide convention held at the Portuguese-American Center in Farmingville on June 1, 2015. Credit: James Escher / James Escher

Amos Goodman, the first openly gay Republican candidate for the Suffolk County Legislature, has been denied permission to run on the Conservative Party line, according to high-level Conservative sources, after he made online posts extolling the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that there is a constitutional right to same-sex marriage.

The Suffolk Conservative Party's executive committee voted Thursday night against giving Goodman a Wilson-Pakula authorization, which permits a nonparty member to run on a party's ballot line.

What made the decision surprising is that it comes after party officials put Goodman's name on its nominating petitions, which are due in the coming week at the Suffolk Board of Elections. It also could hurt GOP chances to win the open 2nd District seat on the South Fork, considered a battleground race.

In the executive committee discussions, party sources said activists carrying Goodman petitions got pushback from Conservative voters following the court decision. They also said recent Facebook exchanges between Goodman and several individuals opposed to the high court's gay-marriage ruling also were raised.

The state Conservative Party, on its website, lists among its legislative priorities a constitutional amendment that defines "marriage as a union between one man and one woman."

Goodman, a Springs-based financial consultant, said he was unaware of the outcome of the Conservatives' meeting. He said it would be a "disappointment" if he did not get the party's backing, but added that he will continue to cooperate with party officials and move forward with his candidacy.

"I'm convinced the race is still winnable," he said.

Goodman acknowledged there may have been "some consternation" in Conservative ranks over his personal statements online, and the "timing of the Supreme Court decision may have been inopportune with regard to the petition process."

His initial Facebook posting called the ruling an "incredible victory at the Supreme Court for equal rights for all Americans! So thrilling to see such a sea change in such a short time."

However, it brought responses including "Not a good decision Amos. The court should NOT be legislating from the bench." Another stated, "I cannot see how a true Republican can celebrate this abuse of power by the U.S. Supreme Court."

Goodman later posted, "I regret adding my two cents on this charged issue in this forum as it . . . only served to divide."

Edward Walsh, Suffolk Conservative chairman, Frank Tinari, executive vice chairman, and John Jay LaValle, Suffolk GOP chairman, did not return calls seeking comment.

The loss of the minor party ballot line could be a major blow to Republicans' chances of narrowing the 12-6 majority of Democrats and their allies on the county legislature.

The Conservative ballot line in 2013 accounted for 1,805 votes, or 8.67 percent, in the 2nd District race. However, new Suffolk Comptroller John M. Kennedy Jr. won last year without the Conservative line.

Goodman noted that his Democratic foe, Southampton Town Board member Bridget Fleming, a former Manhattan prosecutor, "is not exactly a moderate," and that Conservative voters may look for the "85 percent solution" despite his support of gay marriage.

Fleming said the Conservatives' decision will help her campaign, but she added that she is focusing on the "increasing groundswell of support" based on her record and the ties she has built with local residents.

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