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GOP picks Riverhead's Walter for legis. race

Riverhead town supervisior Sean Walter makes his inaugural

Riverhead town supervisior Sean Walter makes his inaugural address. (Jan, 1, 2012) Credit: Randee Daddona

Suffolk Republicans have named Riverhead Supervisor Sean Walter to run for the county legislature, setting up a battle with Southold Democratic town board member and farmer Albert Krupski Jr.

Both are seeking the seat vacated by former GOP Legis. Edward Romaine, of Center Moriches, when he was sworn in Monday as Brookhaven Supervisor.

John Jay LaValle, Suffolk GOP chairman, called Walter the "superior candidate," pointing to Walter's efforts to revitalize Riverhead's downtown and make the former Grumman test flight site an economic engine for the East End. But LaValle labeled the contest a "fair fight" because of Democrats' success in past special elections, their strong field operation and an edge in fundraising.

Walter, 46, an attorney from Wading River who also has the Conservative endorsement, has been town supervisor for three years and promised an issues-oriented campaign. "Let's face it, Democrats have a lock on county government and we need someone with the knowledge of a CEO to look at budgets, review spending . . . to provide oversight of county needs."

However, Legis. Wayne Horsley (D-Babylon), deputy presiding officer, noted Walter's reputation for fighting with his town board. "Any time a public official frequently fights with his board, people start to question their management," Horsley said.

Walter made no apologies for his leadership style, noting he only has one vote on a five-member board and "sometimes you have to crack eggs to make an omelet."

While the First District historically has been represented by a Republican, Horsley said Krupski, 52. of Cutchogue, will be a formidable contender. "We have not only chosen a candidate who is well known but one whose family is part of the history of the community and is an extremely attractive candidate," he said.

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