Republicans to nominate Amos Goodman for Suffolk legislature
By RICK BRAND
Suffolk’s Republican leader says the party will name financial consultant Amos Goodman of East Hampton as its nominee for county legislature in the 2nd District, making him the first openly gay Republican candidate to run for state or county office on Long Island.
At a party fundraiser Thursday, GOP chairman John Jay LaValle called Goodman the kind of tenacious candidate the party is seeking.
“There’s no way you look Amos in the eye and tell him he’s not going to win,” LaValle told the crowd of about 300 people. “He’s not hearing it.”
“I don’t think of myself as a trailblazer or an activist,” said Goodman, who will formally announce his candidacy this week. “I worry very deeply about the fiscal issues plaguing the county, especially in the second district where people pay more than their fair share.”
Goodman, 31, of Springs, said he expects to spend $200,000 in the race for the legislative seat, now held by Jay Schneiderman (I-Montauk), who will reach his term limit on Dec. 31 after 12 years in office.
If elected, Goodman would become only the second openly gay member in the legislature’s history. Jon Cooper, a Lloyd Harbor Democrat who served from 2000 to 2012, was the first openly gay Suffolk County lawmaker. A spokesman for the Nassau Republican Committee said it has never nominated for office an openly gay candidate.
Goodman, a private financial consultant, had a yearlong fellowship at the Pentagon when Donald Rumsfeld was defense secretary. Goodman worked for six years in a private consulting firm run by former Defense Secretary William Cohen, focusing on issues including energy, health care and defense. He also said he worked on Republican Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign in 2012.
Goodman last year created Forward Long Island, a political action committee to help Republicans in key races take control of the State Senate.
Campaign finance reports showed that the PAC raised about $111,000 during the campaign cycle, with Goodman contributing the bulk. The filing shows the PAC spent about $43,000 on the 3rd Senate District race, which GOP Islip Supervisor Tom Croci won. The PAC’s January filing shows $17,666 in its coffers.
Richard Schaffer, Suffolk Democratic chairman, said he expects Democrats to name “a very strong candidate who voters . . . are very familiar with and like very much.” Possible candidates include Assemb. Fred Thiele (I-Sag Harbor) and Southampton Town Board member Bridget Fleming, party sources said.
Thiele late last year said he had no interest in the county race. “Been there, done that,” he said.
Last fall, Goodman criticized Thiele, a former Republican, at a candidates’ night for being part in a “bait and switch” by being a member of the Independence Party while caucusing with Democrats, led by then-Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. Silver stepped down last week amid federal corruption charges.
Frank MacKay, state and Suffolk Independence Party chairman, said he was unaware of Goodman’s comments, but noted Thiele is also chairman of the Southampton Independence Party. “We would want strong input from him … [Thiele] on who is to replace Jay Schneiderman.”
LaValle on Friday said Republican officials fully support Goodman and “doesn’t see any problem whatsoever” in Goodman being gay. “What I like about Amos is that he’s a fiscal conservative and he’s somewhat more moderate on at least that social issue. He’s an ideal candidate for that district and very strong on core [Republican] issues,” he said.