Riverhead Town Republican residents will have a hotly contested primary this coming Thursday, Sept. 10.
Riverhead Republicans surprised the public in May when they picked 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.
Mr. Walter, who has been supervisor since 2010 and has become known for his brash leadership style, is now running a primary to win back his spot on the Republican ticket, along with Mr. Wooten, who has been a councilman since 2008.
In their one debate to date this election season, on WRIV Sept. 2, Ms. Giglio attacked Mr. Walter’s handling of town finances and the slow pace of development at the Enterprise Park at Calverton [EPCAL] at the former Grumman plant.
Mr. Walter has made a campaign issue of the Suffolk County Police Benevolent Association’s endorsement of Ms. Giglio, which he has said in a campaign mailer implies Ms. Giglio wants Suffolk County to take over the Riverhead Police Department.
Ms. Giglio and her running mates have denied that accusation.
“Nothing could be further from the truth,” said Mr. Hubbard on his election Facebook page this week. “The Suffolk Police Department is a fine law enforcement agency, but I am not in favor of losing the many advantages of having a hometown police department. This is simply more political rhetoric coming from a supervisor who is on a sinking ship much like he was last Saturday at the cardboard boat races in downtown Riverhead. Paddling frantically but not crossing the finish line in time!!!”
Mr. Walter, who earned a Bachelors Degree in environmental science from SUNY Binghamton in 1988, worked in the Town of Brookhaven’s solid waste recycling program and as the environmental manager at the Air National Guard base in Westhampton before taking a leave of absence to study for a law degree.
He graduated from St. John’s Law School in 1999, after which he worked as a deputy town attorney in Riverhead and then in private practice in Wading River since 2006.
Mr. Walter and his wife Cathleen have three children.
Jodi Giglio was raised in Wantagh and California, and studied business management at Stony Brook University part-time at night while working.
She has worked relocating corporate executives for United Van Lines and as an on-site construction superintendent for a townhouse project, and owns a permit expediting business, Bennett Enterprises, which assists land owners in processing residential and commercial applications.
She is married to Michael Giglio, and has three grown step-children and three young children.
Councilman Jim Wooten, a fifth generation Riverhead resident, graduated from Riverhead High School, where he was Cadet Commander on the NJROTC. He serves as the Deacon of the First Congregational Church.
Mr. Wooten joined the Riverhead Police Department a foot patrolman on Main Street at the age of 22 and was honored as Crime Prevention Officer of the Year by New York State in 1999 for his work on neighborhood watch programs.
His challengers also have deep roots in the community and law enforcement backgrounds.
Tim Hubbard worked for the Riverhead Police Department for 32 years, retiring as a Detective First Grade. He ran the Riverhead Police Athletic League for more than 20 years and ran the department’s Juvenile Aid Bureau. He also serves as a member of the Riverhead School Board.
Mr. Peeker retired this January as a Lieutenant after more than 33 years in the Riverhead police force,
Riverhead’s town justice race is also packed with primaries, after the retirement of Justice Richard Ehlers.
Town Attorney Bob Kozakiewicz won the Republican nomination for town justice, but school board member Lori Hulse, an assistant town attorney in Southold, is running a primary against him.
The Democratic nominee for the justice seat, Jeanmarie Costello, is waging a primary for the Independence and Conservative lines.
Polling will take place from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. throughout Riverhead on Thurs., Sept. 10.
Southampton Council Candidates Battle for Independence Line
There is also an Independence Party primary in Southampton Town this Thursday, after incumbent Councilwoman Christine Scalera petitioned for a spot on the Independence Party line. The Independence Party has officially backed Democratic council candidates John Bouvier and Julie Lofstad.