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Republicans ready backup candidate

Even as Huntington Republicans appeal a court ruling that ousted Eugene Cook from the ballot line for town board, the party has filed papers to name a replacement candidate if the appeal does not succeed.

The party’s committee to fill vacancies filed papers Monday naming Walter Long Jr., a Dix Hills lawyer, with the board of elections in Yaphank. Toni Tepe, town GOP chairwoman, declined to comment, but party officials say the action has no impact on the pending appeal.

Cook was removed after Vivienne Wong, who was thrown off the ballot as a GOP primary challenger, sued to oust Cook, an Independence Party member, from the GOP ballot line. Wong claimed Republican officials failed to carry out the prescribed process for allowing a nonparty member to run on the Republican line.

Cook’s case is now before the state Appellate Division in Brooklyn.

The effort to substitute Long’s name comes after a similar case last week in which Brookhaven Conservatives unsuccessfully tried to return Ira Bernstein to the ballot after he failed to accept the nomination by the deadline.

State Supreme Court Justice William Kent rejected that, saying Bernstein’s nominating petition became void when he filed late.

In that case, the judge ruled Bernstein’s nominating petition was no longer valid.


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