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Long IslandTowns

GOP picks slate in Babylon

Babylon Town Hall, as seen on Dec. 14,

Babylon Town Hall, as seen on Dec. 14, 2011, at 200 East Sunrise Hwy. in Lindenhurst. Photo Credit: Carl Corry

In Babylon, one of Long Island's most staunchly Democratic towns, Republicans have nominated an Amityville businessman to face incumbent Supervisor Richard Schaffer in the fall.

Christopher G. Connors, 54, ran unsuccessfully for the Babylon town council in 2007 on a platform of lowering taxes and reducing municipal debt. He was nominated last month during the party's convention. He could not be reached for comment.

Babylon Republican Committee chairman Anthony "Tony" Pancella III said in an interview this week that Connors' business background made him a strong candidate. According to the 2007 voters guide, he was a former partner in a specialist firm, Labranche & Co., on Wall Street, and also held a seat on the New York Stock Exchange.

"The biggest problems facing the town are finances and taxes, and he has a lot of good private-sector experience to help him straighten those problems out," Pancella said.

But Pancella acknowledged that Babylon presented a stiff challenge for his party.

Republicans have not occupied the supervisor's office there since Anthony Noto lost his 1987 race. Schaffer won his last election, in 2012, by a 3-1 ratio. And registered Democrats outnumber registered Republicans 49,528 to 35,043, according to the Suffolk County Board of Elections.

"Demographics are not our friend in the Town of Babylon," Pancella said. "More people keep moving to the town and registering as Democrats."

Schaffer, 49, a lawyer from North Babylon who is also Suffolk Democratic chairman, said he's running again to steward the town's recovery from superstorm Sandy, an effort he said will take years.

Schaffer served four full terms in his first tenure as supervisor, from 1992-2001. He was appointed supervisor in January 2012 when Steve Bellone left to become Suffolk County executive, and won a November election to fill the remaining one year of the term.

He agrees with the Republicans on at least one point: "Anything can happen in any race," Schaffer said, especially if the Democrats' numerical advantage is muted by low voter turnout in an off-year election. "I never take anything for granted," he said. "I will be campaigning as hard as I campaigned in my first election."

The supervisor's job pays $104,676.

Stephen Sacchi, 61, a security consultant, was nominated to run against incumbent Carol Quirk for town clerk but said Wednesday that the demands of his present job would keep him out of the race.

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