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Brookhaven's Walsh will not appeal ouster from GOP

Kathleen Walsh, a Republican, is a Brookhaven Town

Kathleen Walsh, a Republican, is a Brookhaven Town councilwoman representing the 3rd District. (June 28, 2011) Credit: David Pokress

Brookhaven Councilwoman Kathleen Walsh does not plan to appeal a state judge's decision to kick her out of the Republican Party.

Walsh, in her fourth two-year term representing Brookhaven's Third Council District, said an appeal was not likely to succeed and "would be a waste of taxpayers' money."

Walsh, 54, of Centereach, will run for re-election as a Democrat when she faces Republican Kevin LaValle in the November general election.

State Supreme Court Justice W. Gerard Asher ruled on the GOP's suit to oust Walsh on Aug. 16. The ruling disqualified Walsh from running in the Sept. 10 Republican primary, in which she had planned to challenge LaValle, the GOP designee and brother of county Republican chairman John Jay LaValle.

"At this point, though I change my mind from day to day, it appears that I'm not going to appeal," Walsh said in an interview. "We're just going to move forward to focus on the November election . . . I'm very disappointed in the fact that I can't go forward in the primary, but that's the legal advice I've received."

John Jay LaValle, in a phone interview, said Walsh had failed to appear earlier this year at a GOP hearing reviewing allegations that she had undermined the party by firing fellow Republicans and running as a Democrat.

"She knew that what she had done was inappropriate," LaValle said. "If you don't support what we stand for, you cannot run under our banner."

Town Democratic chairman Anthony Parlatore said he understood Walsh's decision, because appeals have no guarantee of success. "I think she would have won the primary," Parlatore said. "I think she's still going to win the election."

Walsh conceded it was too late to challenge the court decision because primary ballots without her name have been distributed to polling places.

Her departure from the GOP completes a political odyssey that began when she served as deputy supervisor under Democratic former town Supervisor Mark Lesko. In 2011, Walsh won re-election as a Democrat when Republicans declined to endorse her.

This year, Walsh ran as a Democrat for highway superintendent, but lost a March special election to Republican Daniel Losquadro.

Walsh has enrolled to join the Independence Party, but under an obscure state law, her party switch won't take effect until after Election Day in November.

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