Anthony Coates, John Dunleavy, Jodi Gigiio
Anthony Coates, John Dunleavy and Jodi Gigiio during the 2013 primary debates.

Riverhead Republicans surprised the public Tuesday night in picking Town Councilwoman Jodi Giglio over incumbent Sean Walter to run for supervisor this year.

The Republicans also declined to endorse incumbent Councilman Jim Wooten, opting instead to back newcomers Tim Hubbard and Robert Peeker, both retired town police officers, for town board.

Meanwhile, Riverhead Democrats decided Tuesday night to back Anthony Coates, an investment advisor and former advisor to Mr. Walter for supervisor and Northville Beach Civic Association President Neil Krupnick and Mattituck-Cutchogue School Board member Laura Jens-Smith, who lives in Laurel and has been an active advocate against teen drinking and drug use, for town board.

Mr. Walter, a Wading River lawyer whose blunt leadership style has won him enemies in Riverhead, promised Tuesday night to wage a primary against Ms. Giglio, but has waffled in formally announcing whether to run a primary in comments to reporters this week since.

Should Mr. Walter decide against or fail at waging a primary, this election will be something of a rematch for Ms. Giglio — Mr. Coates ran a heated primary against the incumbent councilwoman for her seat on the board two years ago.

Riverhead Town Supervisor Sean Walter
Riverhead Town Supervisor Sean Walter

At Thursday’s town board work session, Mr. Walter seemed barely recovered from Tuesday night’s nominations.

“It’s sooo nice to see so many CANDIDATES in the audience,” he boomed in a saccharine tone. Newly-minted candidates Tim Hubbard, Laura Jens Smith and Robert Peeker were in the audience.

“We live in such a wonderful town,” he added, his voice cracking.

Councilman George Gabrielsen, who had decided against running again, took his seat at the table and professed to Councilman John Dunleavy that he’d gotten a good night’s sleep. Mr. Dunleavy, who is not up for re-election this year, said he also got a good night’s sleep. Mr. Wooten quietly took his seat and waited for the meeting to begin.

Southampton Race Gets Going

Southampton Village Trustee Richard Yastrzemski was chosen Thursday by Southampton Republicans to run against County Legislator Jay Schneiderman for the supervisor post. Mr. Schneiderman, who announced his candidacy last week, was officially nominated by the Democrats on Tuesday.

Republicans are planning to back incumbent Councilwoman Christine Scalera and East Quogue attorney Damon Hagan for two seats on the town board. The Democrats are backing Hampton Bays PTSA member and education advocate Julie Lofstad and Westhampton engineer John Bouvier, who ran for town trustee two years ago, for town board.

Incumbent Councilwoman Bridget Fleming is not running for reelection to the board, but is running instead for Mr. Schneiderman’s seat on the county legislature.

A Race in Southold

Southold Town Democrats announced Tuesday night that they plan to back Damon Rallis, a plans examiner in the town’s building department, for town supervisor. He will run against incumbent supervisor Scot Russell. The Democrats also nominated Plum Island fireman Albie de Kerillis and North Fork Audubon Society President Debra O’Kane for the two town board seats currently held by Councilman Bill Ruland and Councilwoman Jill Doherty, who are both seeking reelection.

Beth Young
Beth Young is an award-winning local journalist who has been covering the East End since the 1990s. She began her career at the Sag Harbor Express and, after receiving her Masters from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, has reported for the Southampton Press, the East Hampton Press and the Times/Review Media Group. She founded the East End Beacon website in 2013, and a print edition in 2017. Beth was born and raised on the North Fork. In her spare time, she tinkers with bicycles, tries not to drown in the Peconic Bay and hopes to grow the perfect tomato. You can send her a message at

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Please prove you're human: