From the town to the county, the road to the general elections has had some surprising twists and turns this year. On Tuesday, Suffolk County Legislator Jay Schneiderman faced off against former legislator, and alleged felon, George Guldi for the Democratic nomination. Considering Guldi’s implication in a pending fraud case, it wasn’t surprising that Schneiderman won the primary handily. This November, however, Schneiderman, a registered Independent, will run unopposed as he has secured the Republican, Conservative, Independent and Working Families parties’ nomination.
“It was a bizarre primary. I don’t know what motivated Mr. Guldi to jump into the race,” remarked Schneiderman on Wednesday. “I am certainly pleased that a number of Democrats came out to support me … Now I don’t have an opponent for the November election, but I will try to use the time to reach out to residents and hear what is on their minds.”
The Suffolk County Board of Elections released unofficial tallies from Tuesday’s primary, though it is clear that Schneiderman won by a landslide. Official vote counts will be posted three weeks after the elections. Schneiderman nabbed nearly 88 percent of the vote with around 1,054 votes in total. Guldi, however, fell far behind and garnered about 145 votes or 12 percent of the overall vote.
Guldi, 56, along with four others was arraigned in early August on a nearly 130-count indictment for a major mortgage fraud involving properties in Water Mill and Noyac. According to Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota, Guldi and the others allegedly masterminded an $82 million fraud by using false information on loan applications to elicit money from banks and mortgage companies. Guldi, who served two terms in the county legislature and was first elected to the legislature in 1993, was personally indicted on 110 crimes, but maintained his innocence.
Schneiderman’s primary win comes after many years of moving up the local political ladder. He began his political career as a member of the East Hampton Town zoning board of appeals in 1991. He was made chairman of the board in 1996 and went on to be elected East Hampton Town Supervisor in 1999.
During his tenure as supervisor, Schneiderman paid special attention to preserving open space in East Hampton and helped the town purchase almost 1,000 acres from 2000 to 2004.
From the town, Schneiderman moved on to the Suffolk County Legislature. He secured a seat as a county legislator in 2003 and ran for re-election again in 2005 and 2007.
As a politician, Schneiderman has focused much of his efforts on issues like land preservation, affordable housing, transportation and safety.