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Ousted Democrat Montano stays cozy with GOP

After Suffolk Democrats engineered a primary to oust Legis. Rick Montano (D-Brentwood), he has kept warm relations with Republicans. Montano, a critic of Democratic County Executive Steve Bellone, recently attended a Smithtown fundraiser for GOP legislative Minority Leader John Kennedy, another Bellone critic. Montano -- who lost the primary to Monica Martinez, sister of a onetime Bellone aide -- called his appearance at Café Havana "nothing special," saying he knows the restaurant's owner and has attended past Kennedy fundraisers.

But Jon Schneider, a Bellone deputy, replied: "Monica Martinez is willing to support Democratic leadership, and Rick Montano wasn't. I think now we know why." Montano remains on the Nov. 5 ballot on the Working Families Party line. -- Paul LaRocco

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