NORTH BABYLON - Surrounded by supporters, Babylon Town Supervisor Steve Bellone formally announced his candidacy for Suffolk County executive today.

The Democrat has spent the last decade as town supervisor, and this afternoon Bellone touted his record, which he says includes reducing debt by 15 percent and cutting taxes.

Political analyst Larry Levy calls Bellone a solid candidate, but one who's not yet well-known outside of Babylon.

"He has one big challenge which is to make the rest of Suffolk County realize, or believe, that what he's done in Babylon is somehow translatable or replicable on a broader scale throughout Suffolk," Levy says.

Republican leaders will meet Friday to begin the process of choosing the candidate who will run against Bellone in November.

State Sen. John Flanagan, Assemblyman Mike Fitzpatrick, County Treasurer Angie Carpenter and Commissioner of Jurors Michael O'Donohoe are the four candidates vying for the GOP nomination.

Suffolk Republican Party Chairman John J. LaValle says whoever ends up in the race will be ready to go after Bellone.

Babylon town supervisor considers bid for county executive