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Democrat Lesko reaches out to a Conservative

While political parties often take care of unsuccessful candidates in their own ranks with government jobs, Democratic Brookhaven Supervisor Mark Lesko earlier this month offered a Conservative, lawyer Anthony Senft, the post of town public safety commissioner, according to insiders.

One high-level Conservative source also said Lesko dangled the prospect of Senft running for State Senate with Democratic support to replace freshman Sen. Brian Foley (D-Blue Point), who faces a tough re-election next year.

Foley has denied rumors he is looking for an exit strategy.

Senft, an Islip Town resident, had sought the GOP line to run for the county legislature seat of term-limited Legis. Cameron Alden (R-Islip) - but did not even get a nomination. Lesko knows Senft from his former job as a prosecutor in the U.S. attorney's office.

Word of the Senft offer angered Brookhaven Conservatives because the current commissioner - Anthony Gallino, a Republican - was a strong supporter of Conservative Town Board member Jane Bonner, who faced a primary last fall. They believe Lesko's bid was part of an ongoing feud between Conservatives and town board member Kathy Walsh, a Republican who has allied herself with Lesko as his deputy supervisor.

Senft acknowledges Lesko's job offer - but said he turned it down and never discussed the Senate with Lesko.

The supervisor said he was only "feeling out" Senft about his potential interest in a town job. He concedes there was "some talk" about State Senate, but only in terms of Senft's long term career goals, and maintains no offer was made.

- Rick Brand

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