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Republicans Clear Way for Vecchio's Run at 13th Term

Though Smithtown Democrats see opportunity to break Republican stronghold on town board.

While Smithtown Republicans are backing Town Supervisor Patrick Vecchio's decision to run for another term, Democrats are eyeing it as an opportunity to gain ground.

Vecchio, who turns 83 years old in September, announced Feb. 3 at a Smithtown Republican fundraiser that he would seek a 13th term this coming November. First elected in 1977, Vecchio has held the supervisor's seat for 35 years and is the longest-serving town supervisor in Long Island's history.

Before Vecchio's announcement, Suffolk Legis. John Kennedy Jr. had considered a run at supervisor's seat.

"Absolutely, if the supervisor was not a candidate for another term I absolutely would seek the nomination," Kennedy said. "He is a candidate, so I am not."

Kennedy, a Republican colleague from Nesconset first elected to the county legislature in 2004, is a relative newcomer to holding political office compared to Vecchio. Prior to serving as a legislator, Kennedy worked as the official examiner of title for the Suffolk County Clerk’s Office.

Vecchio's long-standing position as supervisor of Smithtown does give him an edge in running for re-election, according to Kennedy.

"[Vecchio] knows the general thinking and the sense of priorities of what's important to most of the residents of Town of Smithtown," Kennedy said. "He maintains contact with many residents in a variety of ways."

Republican Councilman Bob Creighton is also familiar with local needs, working with them on a daily basis since 2008. Creighton expressed interest in running for supervisor before Vecchio's announcement and told Times of Smithtown he was "not ruling out a run."

At 75, Creighton has spent less time on the board than his fellow councilman Ed Wehrheim. Wehrheim was elected to the board in 2003 and has 40 years of experience serving the town, but says he has no intention of throwing his name into the ring – at least not now.

"Last year, I successfully ran for re-election," Creighton said. "I have a lot on my plate as councilman."

For the past 2 years, Creighton said his focus has been on the town's economic development and taking care of Smithtown's business districts. He helped oversee $72 million in renovations at Smith Haven Mall and wants to improve Smithtown's downtown business district.

Turning around Smithtown's Main Street could set the stage for a future run as supervisor.

"I would not rule out something like that in the future, providing that I'm still here," Creighton said.

While Smithtown Republicans respect Vecchio's seniority, the Smithtown Democrats are considering taking advantage of this opportunity to break the Republican stronghold.

"I'm very optimistic we can get some Democrats elected to the town government," said Ed Maher, chairman of the Smithtown Democratic Committee. "The Republicans themselves are admitting the job is not getting done."

Maher said he plans to call the Democrats screening committee together in early March to review potential candidates. At stake is not only the Smithtown supervisor's seat, but also two town board seats held by Kevin Malloy and Thomas McCarthy.

"It's time for Smithtown to have Democrats in town government and we are going to do our best to win races," Maher said.

Mike DiFrancesca February 20, 2013 at 02:54 AM
Im sure there will be a Primary. At least I hope. This could be the biggest flop from the GOP. Enough is enough. Vecchio had a great run....but he jumped the shark years ago.
Jim Bennett February 20, 2013 at 04:38 AM
I'm a lifelong Republican. If Vecchio is the best candidate they can come up with, I will be looking elsewhere.
DUMPVECCHIO February 20, 2013 at 05:19 PM
Hey Josef, I dont know what part of Smithtown you live in...Maybe you live on Vecchios block, thats why your snow removal was so prompt. We waited four days in St. James. just like we waited a week for Hurricane Sandy cleanup. Now Ed Romaine skipped town and was enjoying his warm vacation while residents of Brookhaven suffered during the Blizzard. Where was Vecchio? Im sure in his warm home avoiding the needs of the residents...He is supposed to Lead us and he hid? or did he....did he instruct the Highway Department to plow his and your street and forget about everyone else? Open up your eyes....Vecchio is expired....No discrimination against old people , but his leadership is prehistoric...When you get together with your neighbor Mr. Vecchio this summer, tell him to move to Florida with his own kind
P. J. Miller February 20, 2013 at 05:19 PM
YES AGREED AND WHAT ABOUT SENDING THE SAME MESSAGE TO THE SCHOOL DISTRICT WHEN THEY ASK US TO VOTE YES FOR OUR TAXES TO GO UP!! ANOTHER STRONG MESSAGE SHOULD BE SENT - THAT ENOUGH IS ENOUGH MAKE IT WORK WITH WHAT YOU HAVE. EVENTUALLY WE WILL HAVE NO ONE LIVING HERE BECAUSE PEOPLE ARE LEAVING BECAUSE OF THE TAXES. LOOK AT MAIN STREET - IT'S A SHAME TO SEE IT THE WAY IT IS. ALSO - WE NEED SOMEONE YOUNG WITH FRESH IDEAS, NO ONE FROM THE OLD TOWN BOARD - SOMEONE FROM THE OUTSIDE - OTHERWISE IT WILL BE JUST LIKE HAVING ANOTHER VECCHIO - MIGHT AS WELL JUST VOTE FOR HIM AGAIN IF WE CANNOT FIND ANYONE ELSE.
DUMPVECCHIO February 20, 2013 at 05:22 PM
n November, Vecchio needs to be sent a strong message from the people from the Town of Smithtown. " YOU ARE NO LONGER NEEDED HERE" Move to your little condo in Florida to play shuffleboard and cards with you fellow " Cottonheads" and Shrivvels, Im sure you wont screw things up doing that

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