Veteran police officer Sam Barreto is circulating Republican primary petitions to challenge Conservative Sheriff Vincent DeMarco, who has cross-endorsement support from major and minor parties.
Barreto, 47, of Bohemia, is a 26-year Suffolk County police veteran who works in the canine unit.
“I’m running to give Suffolk County voters a choice” and to increase the transparency of operations in the sheriff’s office, Barreto said.
DeMarco, who is seeking his third four-year term, said he was unaware anyone was planning to run against him and knew nothing of Barreto.
DeMarco has backing from the Republican, Democratic, Conservative and Independence parties as part of a cross-endorsement deal in which Democratic District Attorney Thomas Spota and Republican county Treasurer Angie Carpenter also are getting four ballot lines.
Barreto, a first-time contender, said he attempted to screen with Republican Party officials but did not get any response to numerous calls.
Barreto has held two fundraisers but could not say how much he has raised. He said he has about 50 volunteers helping to collect petition signatures. He needs 2,000 signatures by mid-July to qualify for the ballot, but hopes to get twice that amount to survive potential petition challenges.