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Democrats, Republicans target legislative seats in Suffolk

The Suffolk County Legislature seal in the lobby

The Suffolk County Legislature seal in the lobby of the legislature building in Hauppauge, seen on Aug. 14, 2012. Credit: Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara

Republicans are working to gain seats on Election Day in a bid for relevance in the Suffolk County Legislature, while Democrats are pushing to topple the Republican minority leader.

Democrats and minor party allies hold a 12-6 supermajority over Republicans -- enough votes to authorize county borrowing and bypass committees on emergency bills, without GOP votes crossing over.

"All we need to do is pick up one more seat and we have control over the bonding," said Legis. Kevin J. McCaffrey (R-Lindenhurst), the minority leader. That, he said, would give his caucus leverage on issues such as spending. "We would have a lot more to say over what goes on."

Democrats, meanwhile, are trying to protect their incumbents, hold a seat that Legis. Jay Schneiderman (I-Hampton Bays) is vacating to run for Southampton Town supervisor and take out McCaffrey.

Presiding Officer DuWayne Gregory (D-Amityville) said Republicans opposed county layoffs in 2012, requiring county workers to contribute to their health insurance and other plans to cut spending

"We've made the gut-wrenching decisions we had to make," Gregory said.

McCaffrey said Democrats voted against Republican plans to cut county construction projects by 10 percent. McCaffrey said Democrats also opposed GOP plans to cut county construction projects by 10 percent. He also said Republicans voted against a new multimillion-dollar Beach Hut at Cupsogue Beach.

All 18 legislative seats are on the ballot. Terms are two years.

McCaffrey faces a challenge from Democrat Tim Sini, a former federal prosecutor who's a deputy to County Executive Steve Bellone. Sini has gone up with a television campaign ad, a rarity in local elections.

Among other top races:

Monica Martinez, a Brentwood Democrat, will try to win with only minor party ballot lines. She conceded the Democratic line because of faulty signatures she submitted on nominating petitions. Giovanni Mata is running on the Democratic line. Martinez is now on the Independence, Working Families Party and Women's Equality lines.

Democrats and Republicans are fighting to replace Schneiderman on the county legislature. Southampton Councilwoman Bridget Fleming, a Democrat, is running against Amos Goodman, an East Hampton financial consultant.

Democrat Sarah Anker (D-Mount Sinai) is facing a challenge from Steve Tricarico, a Republican who works for the Brookhaven highway superintendent. The district, which covers North Shore communities in eastern Brookhaven, has more Republican voters than Democrats, but Anker has held the seat since 2011.

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