Vecchio fights for political life in GOP primary for Smithtown supervisor

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SMITHTOWN -

One of Long Island's longest-serving elected officials is in danger of losing his job.

Pat Vecchio has been the town supervisor of Smithtown since 1977, but the Republican Party told Vecchio that they would not support him for another four-year term. The party nominated town Councilman Ed Wehrheim for the position. Vecchio launched a primary bid in response to his party's decision. 

The long-standing supervisor says he's brought stability to the town.

"The last three years, we've had no tax increase," says Vecchio. "We have a AAA bond rating and we have a $17 million surplus. I don't know what else people would want out of their government."

Wehrheim says the entire town board shares credit for the town's financial stability. Where he says Vecchio has failed is letting some of the local downtowns become stagnant.

Newsday political columnist Rick Brand says it's a tough race to handicap.

"You can't count Vecchio out," says Brand. "Everybody knows who he is. His problem is he's had some recent injuries, he's 87 and for the first time, he's looking his age."

Wehrheim says Vecchio doesn't have the stamina for another four-year term, but Vecchio remains confident.

"I have the stamina and I have the will," says Vecchio.

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