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No Democratic primary for Huntington Town Board

In the interest of party unity, Democratic leaders said Monday, there will be no primary for the Huntington Town board.

Three of the four candidates have decided not to seek the nomination and have dropped out after speaking with County Democratic chairman Rich Schaffer, town chairwoman Mary Collins said.

Edward Nitkewicz, a lawyer and South Huntington school board member, Ed Perez, town zoning board of appeals member and president of the Diversity Resource Network marketing consulting organization, and Keith Barrett, Huntington Station Business Improvement District president, all decided to remove their names from consideration. That leaves Tracey Edwards, a Verizon executive, seeking the nod.

"The four candidates got together and decided a primary would not be helpful and not in the best interest of the party," Collins said. "The cost and exertion and all the stuff that goes on in a primary would not be in anyone's best interest."

Town board member Mark Cuthbertson had already secured the nomination to retain his job.

Edwards, who has sought a town board post twice before, said she is honored that her colleagues -- who had invested in running and had their own plans, families and supporters -- withdrew from the race in the name of unity. "I will honor that by doing whatever I can to win in November."

The party's nominating convention was spread over two meetings last month. During the first meeting, some members expressed concerns about the committee member lists, saying various versions had been submitted to the candidates.

At the second meeting, Schaffer spoke and took "full responsibility for that chaos you had to go through," referring to the previous meeting. The town party decided not to nominate a second town board member in light of the concerns.

On Monday, Schaffer said that he spent a lot of time with all four candidates and had discussions with other candidates who had screened.

"I think everybody recognized that it was important for us to go into this election unified," Schaffer said.


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