Smithtown Supervisor Patrick Vecchio has asked state Republican chairman Edward Cox to oust John Jay LaValle as Suffolk GOP leader for “a blatant act of party disloyalty.”
Vecchio said LaValle lied to party voters in a last-minute campaign letter claiming that Vecchio’s opponent in the Republican primary, Robert Creighton, was the party-backed candidate.
Vecchio, a 36-year incumbent, defeated town board member Creighton in a bitter primary Sept 10.
Vecchio asked Cox to take “whatever punitive action [is] in your power” before LaValle seeks re-election as party chairman Friday at the Ramada Plaza in Holtsville.
“He should be sanctioned and removed from his position as county chairman and regional vice chairman for the state party at the very least,” Vecchio said in the two-page letter.
David Laska, a spokesman for Cox and the state GOP, said, “This is an internal county matter and we have no comment.”
LaValle said he had “no reaction” to Vecchio’s letter.
Vecchio’s call represents the latest salvo in his ongoing battle with LaValle, which started last spring when the county GOP leader first came out in support of Creighton. Vecchio in May narrowly won the GOP designation at a party convention.
LaValle’s letter sent out just before the primary asked committee members to rally behind the party’s candidate to overcome “disgruntled individuals” challenging the party’s choices.
LaValle’s letter was accompanied by a list of GOP-backed candidates, but in Smithtown LaValle listed Creighton, not Vecchio, for supervisor and left out GOP town board incumbent and party designee Thomas McCarthy.
“I have received numerous complaints” from committee members in Smithtown, Vecchio said. “They are rightfully insulted and incensed that their own party chairman would so blatantly lie to them.”
LaValle said the list accompanying his primary letter was “an oversight by people around me who thought we were sending out the names of the people I was backing.”