Republicans, Cook Battle Over His Role in November Race

Republican anger at Gene Cook’s decision to run for town supervisor against their candidate, Ed Smyth, continues to ratchet up.

On Tuesday, Republican Chairman Tom McNally emailed party members to accuse Cook of working with Democrats to undermine Smyth, a charge he has made previously. This time, he included photos of the home of a Democratic leader that displayed signs for Cook alongside signs for Democratic candidate Rebecca Sanin.

“We’ve told you about how Gene Cook has aligned himself with key leaders in the Huntington Democrat Party in a shameful effort to divert votes away from the endorsed Republican-Conservative Town Supervisor candidate Ed Smyth and install Democrat Rebecca Sanin as Town Supervisor  Rebecca Sanin, a vocal supporter of Socialist New York City Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

“As it turns out, the same Huntington Democrat [sic] Party Vice Chair who collected petition signatures to place Gene Cook on the ballot for Town Supervisor this year is now displaying lawn signs at his home for BOTH the Democrat candidate for Town Supervisor AND Gene Cook!”

Cook, who was elected to the Town Board as an independent, but is running on the Stop LIPA line, wrote a letter in response that didn’t address McNally’s email but instead outlined the reasons for his campaign, while criticizing several actions taken by the Town Board.

Both he and Smyth are town councilmen.

Cook stood by his previous statements that he’s running because residents asked him to. “Why am I running for Huntington Town Supervisor?  It seems to be a question that some people have answered for me, without actually asking me. The Republican leader would like you to believe that I am running as an operative to help the Democrats, which is incorrect.  Let’s be honest, many would say I am not a party favorite as I don’t do what the party wants; as I stand with  the people and fight for the community I am privileged to serve,” he wrote in a letter this week.

Cook declared in February he was running as a Republican for town supervisor, trying to keep Supervisor Chad Lupinacci from running for re-election because of a personal scandal. A week later Lupinacci announced he wouldn’t run for a second term. But the Republicans chose Smyth instead of Cook as their candidate and Cook then created the Stop LIPA campaign and got onto the ballot. Republicans tried to knock him off the ballot but a court upheld his petitions, keeping him in the race.

In 2020, Cook was the lone Town Board vote against a settlement with LIPA involving taxes the power authority is paying on the Northport power plant.

Republicans have previously complained that residents who vote Republican might cast their ballots for Cook, siphoning votes from Smyth and strengthening Sanin’s campaign.



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