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Riverhead Republicans pick Jodi Giglio for supervisor candidate over incumbent Sean Walter

Jodi A. Giglio (R), candidate for Riverhead Town

Jodi A. Giglio (R), candidate for Riverhead Town council. (Aug. 22, 2013) Credit: Newsday/Ed Betz

Riverhead Republicans knocked Supervisor Sean Walter off the party's 2015 slate by a razor-thin margin at Tuesday night's nominating convention, officials said.

The GOP committee nominated Councilwoman Jodi Giglio for supervisor over Walter by half a point: 1,687.5 to 1,687, Mason Haas, the Republican Committee chairman, said Wednesday.

Votes from the GOP's 22 districts are weighted based on turnout in the last gubernatorial race and some have values with half a point, Haas said.

Walter said Wednesday he was leaning toward waging a primary for the Republican line and was also contacting Conservative and Independence party officials to seek their nominations. He said two people have contacted him about forming an alternative GOP town board ticket, but he declined to name them. "These are things I have to pray about, sit with my wife and talk about," the supervisor said.

"I'm fortunate to have the nomination from the Republican committee, but I was already prepared to run a primary," Giglio said. "I'll work hard to get our fiscal house in order. Sean did his best. Now it's time to take the town to the next level."

Walter and Giglio, both three-term incumbents, competed for the Republican supervisor nomination in 2009, the year it went to Walter. They have sparred publicly on a number of issues since.

Party members also dropped four-term incumbent Councilman James Wooten from the slate and nominated two retired town police officers, Robert Peeker and Tim Hubbard. Councilman George Gabrielsen is not running for re-election.

Wooten, also a former police officer, could not immediately be reached for comment.

Riverhead's all-Republican town board has had the same five members since 2010.

Walter said Haas and other party leaders "pulled out all the stops to throw out the incumbents" but said he wants to stay to see several projects to completion: closing a recurring budget gap, subdividing the 2,900-acre Enterprise Park at Calverton and revitalizing Main Street.

Haas said "the committee did its job" and party leaders represented their constituents.

Riverhead Democrats nominated Walter's former political ally Anthony Coates for supervisor in a convention also held Tuesday evening.

Coates said he served as a paid adviser to Walter in his three political races, but broke with the supervisor over economic and budgetary policies.

"I'm severely disappointed in the direction of the town," Coates said Wednesday."As a speechwriter at times, I wrote a lot of good words, but didn't see those translated into actions."

Coates lost to Giglio in a Republican primary for her town board seat two years ago.

Democrats also selected Neil Krupnick and Laura Jens-Smith as council candidates, said Marjorie Acevedo, the Democratic Committee chairwoman.


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