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Who will be Romaine’s replacement?
Scott Russell vs. Al Krupski?
County Legislator Ed Densieski?
Faulk for Legislature?
These are some of the names being bounced around by party leaders to replace County Legislator Ed Romaine, who won a special election Tuesday for Brookhaven Town Supervisor.
Mr. Krupski was the only potential candidate named Tuesday night by Suffolk Democratic chairman Richard Schaffer. He said Wednesday that he’s interested, but he can’t commit to running in a special election just yet.
“I can’t say yes but I’m not saying no,” said Mr. Krupski, the only Democrat to hold a Town Board post in Mr. Romaine’s district. “I’m going to talk about it with Rich and then talk about it with my family. I certainly know the district and the county, so it’s not like I’m coming out of the cabbage patch.”
In that comment Mr. Krupski pokes fun at his life as a pumpkin farmer, and raises the question on whether he can run his family’s Peconic agricultural business while simultaneously representing a legislative district that stretches from Fishers Island to Center Moriches.
“That’s going to take a little bit of reflection,” he said.
Art Tillman, Southold Democratic leader, responded with enthusiasm on the prospect of councilman’s candidacy.
“I think it would be great to have a farmer serving in the County Legislature,” Mr. Tillman said.
Mr. Krupski, Southold’s only elected Democrat, has long been considered the heir-apparent to Republican Supervisor Scott Russell.
During the Southold Polish Democratic Club’s “roast” of Mr. Krupski earlier this year, Mr. Schaffer went as far as to describe the councilman as “Southold’s next supervisor.”
And he still could be. Especially if Mr. Russell ran for the open legislature seat. Sound like a stretch? Well, Suffolk County Republican chairman John Jay LaValle said Wednesday that Mr. Russell’s name has been discussed for the post, though he said he has not yet had a conversation with the supervisor about it.
Mr. Russell said that’s unlikely, especially with Mr. Krupski on the ballott.
“There’s no scenario whatsoever where I would be running against Albert for any elected office,” he said.
If Krupski wasn’t in the mix?.
“I’m pretty invested in Southold Town,” said Mr. Russell, who confirmed he hasn’t talked to Mr. LaValle. “There’s a lot of demands to being supervisor, but at the end of the day I’m still in Southold. I still get to go to my kid’s football game. The strains of covering four towns would hamper my ability to be a good dad. Politics is all about timing and the timing isn’t right.”
Mr. Russell noted that for a brief time in 1995 he actually was the expected GOP nominee for Legislature, but was replaced at the nominating convention by former Legislator Mike Caracciolo.
Mr. LaValle said he has been approached about the vacant seat by Bill Faulk, an aide to Mr. Romaine, and former Riverhead Town Councilman Ed Densieski.
Riverhead Town Councilmembers John Dunleavy and Jodi Giglio have both expressed interest, among other Republicans, about the job.
Riverhead GOP chairman John Galla said Republicans will have many options.
“I think you’re going to see a deep bench of candidates,” he said. “I’m sure you’ll hear from people who might come forward now that the people of Brookhaven made their decision.”
Anthony Coates, an aide to Riverhead Town Supervisor Sean Walter, said he plans to pursue a political office in 2013. He is expected to make an announcement next week.
Mr. Romaine said his replacement in the Legislature will have to fight hard to get the residents of the North Fork what they need. He said that person will need to stand up to others “for what is right” for the East End.
“If the issues are right and you can make a decent case, you can prevail,” said Mr. Romaine when asked what advice he’d give his replacement.
And what might those key issues be?
“Preserving farmland and open space,” he said. “Working on the Peconic Estuary to minimize nitrogen pollution and preventing red and brown tide. Working to preserve our coastline from erosion. And ensuring that taxes stay low. I can go on and on.”
Mr. Romaine secured about 57 percent of the vote in Tuesday’s special election to replace former supervisor Mark Lesko. He outperformed Democratic nominee Brian Beedenbender of Centereach by more than 20,000 votes.
Reporting by Jennifer Gustavson, Tim Kelly, Paul Squire and Michael White.