Reporting Sophia Hall
HAUPPAUGE, NY (WCBS 880/AP) - The Democrats have it a little easier when it comes to finding a candidate for Suffolk County Executive, according to the Democratic National Committee’s Robert Zimmerman.
WCBS 880′s Sophia Hall: There Are Several Republican Contenders
He says for some time the party has been looking at Steve Bellone, the current Babylon town supervisor, to run.
In fact, Bellone began a listening tour of the county a few weeks ago.
“Steve Bellone has not only been doing a listening tour, he’s also increased his fundraising in preparation of a possible announcement,” Zimmerman told WCBS 880′s Sophia Hall. “When democrats were getting badly beaten in 2009, Steve went on to a tremendous re-election with 72 percent of the vote.”
1010 WINS’ Mona Rivera reports: Suffolk Residents Sound Off On Steve Levy’s Announcement
But because Steve Levy was a Republican (well, he was a Democrat and became a Republican when he floated a bid for governor in 2010) and his announcement not to run for a third term came as a surprise, officials from the Republican party are looking for a new candidate.
Possible candidates for that column include Suffolk County Comptroller Joseph Sawicki, State Senator John Flanagan, State Assemblyman Michael Fitzpatrick, and Suffolk County Treasurer Angie Carpenter.
On Thursday, Steve Levy announced that he would not seek a third term and voluntarily turned over about $4 million in campaign funds to the district attorney following a 16-month investigation.
WCBS 880′s Sophia Hall: Why Is Steve Levy Suddenly Calling It A Career?
So, why did Steve Levy decide not to run for a third term?
First, there is the investigation by District Attorney Thomas Spota over campaign finances.
Political consultant Christopher Hahn said the decision could also stem from the George Guldi case. Guldi was a former county legislator sentenced to prison time for insurance fraud and grand larceny.
Levy was subpoenaed to testify in the trial, but in the end, never took the stand.
Hahn said Guldi’s co-defendant is Levy’s friend Ethan Ellner.
“There has been allegations that political contributions were traded for work and Ellner received title work from the county on Steve Levy’s recommendations,” Hahn told Sophia Hall.
Spota and Levy have not elaborated on the details of the investigation into campaign finances and their silence has incensed some residents.
“I just don’t understand what they’re hiding,” one woman said.
“It makes you wonder if they’re in cahoots together, like you watch my back, I’ll watch your back,” a man said.
1010 WINS’ Mona Rivera reports most residents she spoke with were not aware that Levy was under investigation.
Suffolk Legislator Jon Cooper said he was shocked to learn that Levy had reached an agreement with prosecutors to not seek a third term.
On Friday Cooper, a longtime Levy nemesis, suggested the county executive should consider resigning.
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