Huntington Town Board member Gene Cook has announced his candidacy for town supervisor.
The Independence Party member says he is hoping to run on the Republican, Conservative and Independence Party lines — though none of them have given Cook their line yet.
He said he decided to throw his hat into the ring after fielding calls from “various” parties and receiving “overwhelmingly enthusiastic” support from the Huntington Republican Committee for his potential candidacy.
“When I asked them, ‘Would you like for me to run for supervisor,’ overwhelmingly everyone raised their hand,” Cook said of his GOP screening last week. “And that’s what I have decided to do.”
Huntington Republican chair Toni Tepe said Cook asked to screen before her executive committee. When he did, she said, he did impress the group, calling him a “breath of fresh air.” But she stopped short of saying he would be the Republican candidate.
“He was very well received but I still have a process that I need to go through,” Tepe said. She said the screening committee has to go through the candidate questionnaires, the evaluation sheets and discuss the oral presentations. The committee has screened four candidates in all, she said.
Ken Bayne, chairman of the Huntington Independence committee, also said Cook would make a fine candidate but the party will wait until the end of May to decide who it will endorse.
“Gene has done a tremendous job over the last two years and he definitely is qualified to run,” Bayne said.
Frank Taneri, Huntington Conservative Party chair, said although the screening process for the supervisor’s position has closed, the party would give Cook an opportunity to screen.
“If he’s entered the race it wouldn’t be a problem for him to screen with us,” Taneri said. “As a sitting elected official, I think he deserves that right to screen.”
Cook, of Greenlawn, who owns an asphalt and concrete company, was elected to the town board in 2011 when he ran on the Independence, Republican and Conservative party lines. He has pushed for term limits for the supervisor position and board members, and stricter and more conservative financial controls.