Accusations Fly At Huntington Democrat Nominating convention
Huntington Democrats re-convened on May 28th, at the Nathan Hale American Legion Post in Halesite. Unlike last week’s four hour marathon meeting, this meeting lasted about twenty minutes. The purpose of the meeting was to select a candidate to challenge Republican Incumbent Mark Mayoka during the November elections.
Suffolk County Democratic Chairman Richard Schaffer spoke out regarding the concerning turn of events that occurred at last week’s Democrat Convention. That convention, as described by many in attendance, turned out to be a political fiasco. A County Chairman intervening in a town’s nominating process is not typical. At last weeks convention, Huntington Democratic Chair Mary Collins was accused of moving committee people to other election districts to manipulate weighted votes in an effort to stack the deck for specific candidates.
There are about 178 separate election districts in the town. Each district has a weighted vote. Committee people in each election district vote to recommend candidates during the nominating convention. It is the certified committee list that authorizes a committee person to have a vote. Accusations of the last minute committee shuffling were openly stated by multiple individuals on the convention floor. Tracey Edwards, who is considering a run for town board in November, pointed out that there were at least two different democratic committee lists that were circulating. The lists, one from the Suffolk County Board of Elections and one from the Huntington Democrat Committee were vastly different, according to Edwards. The list were said to have a discrepancy of more than 80 names.
Sources close to the situation state that the inconsistencies in the two lists are indeed real. We are in the process of acquiring the various lists in order check for inconsistencies. Manipulated committee lists would certainly delegitimize the nomination process.
Suffolk County Democratic Chairman Richard Schaffer stated that he takes full responsibility for the turn of events at last weeks Town Democratic convention.
The candidates vying for the Town Board seat currently held by Councilman Mark Mayoka are Tracey Edwards, Ed Perez, Edward Nitkewicz and Keith Barrett. Upon Chairman Schaffer’s recommendation, the Democratic committee decided not to nominate any of the four prospects. Schaffer was likely concerned that nominating a candidate using weighted votes from a potentially inaccurate committee list would have tainted the process. Instead it was decided that all four should proceed to the primary process, which will take place in September.
In the 2011 election process, both the county and town democrats were accused of forging letter’s from community members in support of local democrat candidates. It was determined that the letters were forged but it was unclear where they actually came from.