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Primary challenges in Huntington possible

Huntington Town Councilman and supervisor candidate Gene Cook.

Huntington Town Councilman and supervisor candidate Gene Cook. (Sept. 30, 2009) Credit: Pablo Corradi

The wheels have been set in motion for primary challenges for Huntington Town supervisor and town board.

Town board member Gene Cook, an Independence Party member who has been nominated by the Republican and Independence parties to run for supervisor, is facing challenges in both parties.

Robert Lifson, a former appellate division judge and town Republican chairman, has secured more than 1,800 signatures on a petition to challenge Cook. Independence Party member Harry Acker, who is also the town senior harbormaster, has gotten enough signatures for a primary challenge in his party.

David Reilly, the attorney for the Huntington Republican Party, said general objections have been filed against Lifson's petition with the board of elections. He said the party is still reviewing the petition to determine whether specific objections will be filed with the board.

"I don't think the will of 1,800 people should be ignored by trying to suppress their right to have a voice in the selection of their party's nominee," Lifson said.

Acker said he is running to help effect change for boating safety issues and the Long Island Power Authority tax suit.

Huntington Independence Party chair Ken Bayne said Acker never expressed interest earlier about running for supervisor. "He never announced to us that he was interested in running when we had our screenings," he said.

Bayne said the party didn't plan to file an objection. He said any objection would be up to Cook. Cook declined to comment on the possibility of primaries.

In other races, Mark Capodanno, a former GOP town board member, has secured enough signatures to challenge town board member Mark Mayoka and nominee Joshua Price, both Republicans. Reilly said general objections have also been filed over that petition.

Town board member Mark Cuthbertson, a Democrat, and Democratic nominee for town board Tracey Edwards, who both also have the Working Family Line nod, are facing a challenge from Rich Hall.

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