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Challenger comes up short for Huntington GOP primary

A Melville man who was aiming to force a Republican primary in the Huntington supervisor's race has failed to gather enough signatures.

Peter Nichols, 45, had hoped to challenge Dix Hills resident Bill Dowler, who secured the nomination from the Huntington Republican Committee last month. Nichols said yesterday he gathered only about 650 signatures of the required 1,000.

"We came up short," said Nichols, who works in Manhattan for a nonprofit organization as director of facilities management.

Nichols has already received the nod from the Huntington Conservative Party.

"We like him," said Frank Tinari, Huntington Conservative chairman. "We felt he would go out there and raise the issues and argue them persuasively as to why our town government has to change."

Nichols said he's now aiming to get on the Libertarian ballot in November. He has the Libertarian endorsement, too, but must secure and submit 1,500 signatures to the Suffolk County Board of Elections by Aug. 18.

Estelle Edwards, chairwoman of the Suffolk County chapter of the Libertarian Party of New York, confirmed the party is supporting Nichols.

"We have volunteers out trying to help the process by gathering signatures on a petition," she said. "We screened him back in May at our Libertarian meet-up and we decided to support him. He believes in the same things we do."

Nichols said his platform includes advocating for term limits, limited government, creation of councilmanic districts, lower government spending and fewer patronage jobs.

"I'm fed up with being unable to change things from a civic point of view," Nichols said. "I think I can do just as good a job as some of the people in office now."

Nichols has twice run unsuccessfully for the Half Hollow Hills school board.

Huntington Town Supervisor Frank Petrone, a Democrat, will be seeking his fifth term.

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