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James Gaughran to challenge Carl Marcellino for Senate seat

Rick Brand

Suffolk Water Authority Chairman James Gaughran said he will announce Tuesday that he will run against State Sen. Carl Marcellino, claiming that Long Island has been long cheated out of state aid by corruption and backroom deals

Gaughran, 59, a Democrat and former Huntington town board member and Suffolk legislator, will make his announcement at noon outside Oyster Bay Town Hall, next to the statue of reform-minded President Theodore Roosevelt.

“Carl has been a major supporter of former Majority Leader Dean Skelos and done nothing in 22 year to change things,” Gaughran said. “I’m going to make it very clear we have got to end corruption and it’s time to give someone else a chance to clean it up.”

Kathy Wilson, the spokeswoman for Marcellino (R-Syosset), said, “The senator always has an opponent and he puts his record forward to the votes.”

Gaughran’s announcement will come after Democratic Assemb. Todd Kaminsky last month won Skelos’ former seat after Skelos’ federal corruption conviction. Oyster Bay is also mired in a scandal involving town park concession contracts which caused rating agencies to drop the town bond rating to junk status.

Gaughran said he will back all reforms pending in Albany, including proposals banning legislators from having any outside income, and those requiring lawmakers to disclose all clients, if a ban does not pass.

He also would bar elected officials from spending any campaign money for personal expenses. “With 95 percent of the incumbent raising money and winning — often without opposition — it seems to be no different than the old days of Tamany Hall when people would deliver bags of money,” he said,

In light of the Oyster Bay’s crisis, Gaughran also said he will sponsor state legislation to allow local residents to petition for a referendum to recall and remove elected officials who permit town credit to fall to junk bond status.

While Republicans often attack local Democratic candidates for being aligned with New York City Democrats, Gaughran said, “I’m going to be a different kind of Democratic state senator who is not bashful to stand up to Mayor Bill DeBlasio when he’s hurting the interest of Long Island.”

Gaughran has chaired the water authority board for nearly six years, served four years as a town board member and six years as a county lawmakers. He ran a losing race for Suffolk Comptroller two years ago against Republican Legis. John Kennedy.

He also ran for State Senate in 1992 against then-Senate Majority Leader Ralph Marino (R-Syosset) when the district was two-thirds in Nassau and heavily Republican.

The North Shore district, which runs from Glen Cove to Commack, is now split almost evenly between the counties. Voter registration favors Democrats 76,000 to 72,000 for Republican, with 71,000 unaligned.