Robert Lifson, a former appellate division judge and Huntington Town Republican chairman, is circulating GOP primary petitions to run for town supervisor alongside Mark Capodanno, a former town board member who is looking to make a comeback.
Lifson, 63, who spent 14 years as a judge and five as town GOP leader, has been collecting signatures for the past week to get the minimum 1,000 needed to qualify for the ballot and 500 to 1,000 signatures more than that to rebuff any potential petition challenge. He added he has about 50 volunteers helping to gather signatures.
Lifson said he is running because he is concerned that designated GOP supervisor contender Gene Cook’s “wild-eye accusations” against the current administration make him less credible when there are serious town issues at stake. Cook, an Independence Party member, did not return calls for comment.
Toni Tepe, town GOP chairwoman, said she believes Lifson is running with the encouragement of Democratic Supervisor Frank Petrone to divide the GOP ranks. “I don’t understand why a former leader does not know when their day is done,” she said. “He should be supportive of the organization the way they wanted support when he was leader.”
Lifson denied any ties to Petrone in making the race “and anyone who has seen me take on Frank at Town Hall knows that.” Lifson was critical of Petrone and the town board for rezoning properties the master plan earmarked as light industrial into residential tracts, which lowers property tax revenue and generates more schoolchildren, increasing school taxes.
Tepe added that Republican Capodanno served four years as a town board member but was not renominated by his own party because he often sided with Petrone.