After Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy, the next question for the Suffolk County Republican Party in the past week and a half has turned to, "who then, will run?" Several names have been thrown about, and one - Suffolk Treasurer Angie Carpenter - has even . While some names have proven not to be interested - a representative for Judy Pascale, county clerk, said she is, "interested in finishing her term" - a few of those who are at least on the fence spoke with Patch about where they stand now, and what they think they can bring to the table.
Angie Carpenter - Suffolk County Treasurer
The County Treasurer for the past six years and a county legislator for a baker's dozen before that, Carpenter was the first to officially announce her candidacy for the GOP nomination for county executive. In the same place she originally announced her intent to run for County Legislature nearly 20 years ago, Carpenter spoke at La Grange Inn in West Islip on Wednesday.
“This is not a job that affords the time for on-the-job training,” she said. “I have the background and experience in government. I was there working as a full-time legislator and now have daily oversight over county finances as treasurer.”
Joseph Sawicki - Suffolk County Comptroller
Sawicki, a Southold resident, has served as comptroller of Suffolk County since 2002, running twice since on cross-endorsed party lines. Prior to that, he served as chief financial officer of Suffolk County Off Track Betting - "back when they were making money," he said on Friday. Before his time at OTB he represented the First Assembly District from 1983-1993.
In a conversation on Friday Sawicki said he was "50-50" on whether or not he would officially throw his name into the ring to run for county executive. He cited the biggest factor holding him back would be the change in pace the high-profile position would have on his personal and family life.
"One day I wake up and I'm gung ho to run," he said. "The next day, I'll sit down over dinner with my wife and we'll get to talking and say, 'What's really good for us?' This is a decision my wife and I have to make."
Sawicki said he would like to have his decision made in the next two weeks.
Going into his ninth year at the comptroller position, Sawicki said his biggest accomplishments include recouping over $7 million from taxpayers as a result of aggressive auditing practices and - in conjunction with a Democrat-controlled Legislature - compiling a uniform manual for county government for hiring outside consultants. He added that the county spends over $53 million annually on consultants.
Michael J. Fitzpatrick - Assemblyman, Smithtown
Fitzpatrick is an Assemblyman who has represented Smithtown, and parts of Islip and Brookhaven, since 2002. Before moving to the state level, Fitzpatrick served on the Smithtown Town Council for 15 years, working in the financial services industry prior to and during his run in politics.
Fitzpatrick touted his conservative record, pointing out that among his peers in the Assembly, he's been given the highest conservative rating by the New York State Conservative Party over the past three years. He said that landing the Conservative nomination would be key for his party's ability not just among gathering votes, but raising funds as well.
In addition to his fiscal policy, Fitzpatrick said his experience in Albany could help the residents of Suffolk.
"Having seen how Albany works, I want to use that platform to work with other county executives across the state to drive change," he said. "We are all political subdivisions of New York State, and the state has to get a hold of rising pension and healthcare costs.
"I am interested in running for the position, on the record," he said.
Ed Romaine - County Legislator, Center Moriches
Romaine, a legislator representing Suffolk's first district since 2005, was the last Republican to run for county executive when Levy defeated him by a 55-45 percent margin in 2003. He said he's going to wait and see if he'll throw his name in to be the next GOP candidate.
"It's far too early to tell," said Romaine, who served as County Clerk from 1989 to 2002. "This just opened up a week ago. But it's something I'm obviously seriously looking at."
Romaine said he "loves representing the first district," which encompasses Riverhead, Southold and a small portion of Brookhaven. And with his legislature term ending this year - legislature seats are two-year terms - he said if a better candidate were to arise, he would have no problem ceding the nomination to someone else.
But in order to find that out, Romaine said he wants to do his homework - similar to likely Democratic candidate Steve Bellone's listening tour - to see what the rest of the county is thinking.
"I don't want to be precipitous and say I'm going to run right now," he said. "That's like diving into a pool without water. Running for county executive is almost like starting a business. You have to take a look around, look at the potential to fundraise, and gauge your support in every aspect of the county. It isn't done overnight."
John Flanagan - State Senator, Smithtown
Flanagan represents the New York's second Senate distrcit, which encompasses all of Smithtown, and parts of Brookhaven and Huntington. He was first elected to the seat in 2002 and most recently won last November's election with 63 percent of the vote.
Prior to his time in the Senate, the East Northport resident served in the Assembly for 16 years, representing the ninth district.
Flanagan currently serves as chair on the Education Committee, and on his Senate bio page, he states that some of his accomplishments through his post have been to increase bus service for students and expanding funding for pre-kindergarten.
Flanagan did not return calls seeking comment.