Island Vote: Suffolk County balance of power

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News 12 Long Island is taking a look at the strategy being employed by Suffolk County Republicans to get their candidates into office this Election Day.

Democrats outnumber Republicans 2-1 in the Suffolk County Legislature. Suffolk GOP Chairman John Jay LaValle says President Donald Trump's victory last year invigorated the Republican base as someone with no political experience who brought in big numbers. It's a formula he's now using in this year's local elections, and voters like George Wright seem to be OK with it.

ISLAND VOTE - Complete coverage of the 2017 races

"I think people who have a lot of political experience tend to be part of the system and they work with everyone else," Wright says.

LaValle says running what he calls real people from the private sector who are involved in their community is a sure-fire way of increasing the number of Republican voters on Election Day.

"It's going to be the traditional Republican vote -- on a little bit of steroids coming off the Trump victory -- plus the friends of these new people who are heavily involved in their community," LaValle says.

Suffolk Democratic Chairman Richard Schaffer says he's not worried about losing control in the Legislature. He says name recognition, experience and grassroots campaigning by Democratic candidates will work in their favor.

"We don't have them pop up in May," Schaffer says. "We have them pop up the year before and start working the district -- start meeting community leaders and knocking on doors and getting a feel for what the issues are in the district."

Voter Eileen Puerta says politics is a profession that requires some background.

"I think they should have some political experience," she says. "I don't think they should come in and not know what's going on because there's a lot of garbage to go through."

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