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Moncayo, Hahn Campaigns in Full Throttle

The race for Vivian Viloria-Fisher's county legislature seat is getting competitive.

With a little under three months to go before elections, the race for Suffolk County's fifth legislative district seat is already in full swing.

Candidates on both sides of the race are busy fundraising and walking door-to-door to get their messages out, whereas other county races have been on the quiet side so far.

"'Early' is subjective. I think it's never too early," said Anthony Moncayo, the Republican running against Democratic candidate Kara Hahn. "However, I think when people really get focused and interested in the campaign is after Labor Day."

Moncayo and Hahn are seeking the seat occupied by Suffolk County Legis. Vivian Viloria-Fisher, D-Setauket, who cannot run again after serving 13 years in the legislature – one year after a special election, and six subsequent full terms.

Hahn has worked for close to six years as director of communications for Bill Lindsay, presiding officer of the Suffolk County legislature, and has also worked for for Viloria-Fisher, deputy presiding officer, and for presiding officer Maxine Postal before Postal's death in 2003. She is also a past president of the . Moncayo is an attorney in private practice and a 30-year veteran of the U.S. Army Reserves, having retired in 2010 with the rank of colonel. He was deployed to Europe in the 1980s and Saudi Arabia and Haiti in the 1990s in various staff legal and directorial positions before serving as a director of operations at Guantanamo Bay between November of 2008 and April of 2010.

According to New York State Board of Elections records, which include campaign contributions filed through July, Moncayo has raised approximately $12,000 since he decided to run in June. Hahn has banked about $59,000 total in donations since she decided to run last summer; she formally announced her intent to run in December. That total includes a small amount she raised in 2006 when Viloria-Fisher ran unsuccessfully for county clerk and Hahn considered running in the special election which would have followed had the county legislator won that race.

When asked if he felt he was playing "catch up" in the race, Moncayo said that phrase really only applied the first week in June when he announced his candidacy.

"In the ensuing two months, my organizational, managment, and leadership skills, which were honed by thirty years in the military, have permitted me to 'catch up,'" Moncayo said.

But Rich Schaffer, chairman of the Suffolk County Democratic Committee, said he feels Hahn may be ahead of the game based on her work with the civic association.

"In Kara's case, you can almost count her as an incumbent because of all the work that she's done, how familiar she is with the district, and how familiar the district is with her," Schaffer said.

Suffolk GOP chairman John LaValle disagreed, saying he believes Hahn has very little name recognition within the community. Moncayo has been in the public eye before, having previously run for the New York State Assembly against Steve Englebright, D-Setauket.

"I think he also presents a more out-of-the-box type of candidate rather than a clubhouse type of candidate," LaValle said.

Both LaValle and Schaffer said this race will be a key one for Suffolk County.

"When you don't have an incumbent, it's considered competitive," Schaffer said. "When you have an incumbent who hasn't done something wrong, they usually have an edge."

Stephanie Mitchell August 11, 2011 at 11:13 AM
If there is one thing we don't need right now is an 'out of the box' candidate. We need someone with a good understanding of Suffolk County, how the government currently works, and with a williness to help our district and county secure jobs. That is Kara Hahn. Kara is a hard working woman that knows the basics and is eminently qualified. The 5th District is very lucky to have her willing to serve. Kara also was born and raised here. Kara's parents instilled in her the importance of community service. We need to recognize the goodness and experience that she offers.
Lawrence Kelly August 11, 2011 at 08:12 PM
If "out of the box" means a distinguished military career accompanied by trying some of the most difficult County cases as a Senior Suffolk County Attorney, direct experience with the mosaic of cultures which make up Suffolk County in their home countries as a senior officer of the greatest military force the world has ever seen, I guess "out of the box" equals mission success. How much "mission success" have you seen from local government recently? When we send our military members to succeed in a mission like Col. Moncayo's mission at Guantanamo Bay, they have the right to expect more than the dismissive attitude of Vivian Fisher's former legislative aide, Stephanie Mitchell.
Stephanie Mitchell August 11, 2011 at 09:01 PM
My comment simply spoke to the GOP Chairman's characterization of his candidate when he said in the article, "I think he also presents a more out-of-the-box type of candidate...." As a constituent in the 5th District, I prefer to avoid "out of the box' candidates and prefer those with experience and understanding directly on the job. Thus, the intent of my statement. Thanks for sharing Lawerence.
Lawrence Kelly August 12, 2011 at 12:55 AM
There are almost twenty County Legislators, and Col. Moncayo would join Tom Barraga in bringing the number of veterans in the 2012 Legislature to a grand total of two. As to experience and understanding directly on the job, as Senior County Attorney Anthony Moncayo represented Suffolk County in contested trials before hundreds of juries. As to experience and understanding directly on the job, Anthony Moncayo has it all over his younger inexperienced opponent. Of course I would expect the staff and former staff of Vivian Fisher to support another political hire, but the point made about selecting candidates from "out of the box" starts with hiring veterans, this time at the election booth. Whatever the intent of your statement, Stephanie, your diminishment of Col. Moncayo's achievements in Bosnia, Desert Storm and at Guantanamo reveals an incredible ignorance. Unfortunately, this ignorance is common in Suffolk politics.
Zachary Baum August 12, 2011 at 02:06 AM
Stephanie is exactly right! Suffolk County desperately needs elected officials who are tested and ready for the challenges that lie ahead. We have too many issues to deal with in Suffolk County to elect politicians who will need on the job training. Kara understands the issues, she understands the 5th LD, and understands the people. There is no one more qualified for this position. She embodies the qualities that we all want in our elected officials: Integrity, Dedication, and Intelligence. Kara was born HERE, and raised HERE. She was raised by a volunteer firefighter and a school teacher. She understands the struggles of working families. She get its! Kara transcends party politics, and will represent the entire 5th LD when elected on November the 8th.
Lawrence Kelly August 12, 2011 at 10:58 AM
Yes, yes, young Mr. Baum, as "Research Director for Kara Hahn" I am sure you are headed to Guantanamo, Saudi Arabia and Bosnia to look into Col. Moncayo's strategic genius in "rule of law" activities in flash points around the world. I am sure you will be plumbing the court files in Riverhead Supreme Court and the United States District Courts in Central Islip and Brooklyn to research Moncayo's successful trials as Senior Suffolk County Attorney. I didn't think so. Better to try to position yourself for a political plum job with empty words. I don't get how the political go along to get along crowd you have joined offers solutions for anyone but yourselves.
Alex Montego August 12, 2011 at 03:01 PM
I think its disgraceful that Lawrence Kelly is attacking Mr. Baum. This is just the kind of personal attacks that have no place in our politics. Mr. Baum is a rising star in the local political scene and deserves to be commended for his commitment to the principles of the Democratic Party. He is a young person that is participating in the process, and you dont often see that so instead of attacking him, I think you ought to encourage him and only offer constructive criticism. I commend Kara Hahn for allowing young people to get involved in her campaign and taking Mr. Baum under her wing. I find it rather unusual that you know of Mr. Baum and his affiliation with the Kara Hahn Campaign. Are you sure that you are correct with your facts in insinuating that he is in charge of Research. Research does not always mean opposition research, it could mean researching statistics and issues. Anyone that knows anything about politics knows Research and Opposition Research are two different things. I guess your just an amateur.
Lawrence Kelly August 12, 2011 at 04:31 PM
Gee, Alex, I googled "Zachary Baum" and found his "Linked In" self description is "Research Director for Kara Hahn". Getting back to the point, Anthony Moncayo is the superior candidate. You might want to stick to that issue and try to figure out how that basic point does not prevail in November.
david engita August 12, 2011 at 04:46 PM
Just disgusting that someone could attack a young person who is involved in the political process. If Lawrence Kelly's comments are a reflection of the character of Mr. Moncayo, I do not want Moncayo anywhere close to being Legislator. Lawrence Kelly owes Zachary Baum an apologize. These kind of attacks are just unacceptable. Zachary Baum has every right to express why he believes Kara Hahn is the best candidate, as do you have the right to express why you believe Mr. Moncayo is the best candidate in your opinion. The public is tired of the Republican Parties attacks on young people. Its a disgrace. I will be supporting Kara Hahn because not only is she the best candidate for the job but she treats young people with respect.
mary williams August 12, 2011 at 05:46 PM
A vote for Kara Hahn is a vote for our youth! Thank you Kara Hahn for allowing our youth to explore their interests, in Zachary Baum's case; politics. Shame on you Lawrence Kelly. Looking forward to having a Legislator Kara Hahn!
Lawrence Kelly August 12, 2011 at 07:16 PM
Just so I understand your point, the Research Director for a County Legislature campaign, with a background in two Congressional campaigns (also listed on his Linked In site) is someone who should only be given "constructive criticism" when he is caught red handed trying to pad a public discussion board with a piece of fan mail for his candidate? I beg your pardon and I beg to differ. If I had not found Baum had an actual position with the Hahn campaign, his comments would have been a benign piece of over the top fan mail. But the Hahn campaign having staffers trying to control the public discussion is a compelling point to be addressed. The last two comments indicate Hahn's campaign now realizes they have been caught. if you can't rebut the message, attack the messenger. Anthony Moncayo is far and away more qualified than Zachary Baum's current boss. Kara Hahn's staff attempting to control public discussion of the campaign was uncovered in the above exchange. Both the attempt and the fact that it can so readily be discerned speak to a lack of any management skills in the running of the campaign. That foreshadows real problems for Suffolk County taxpayers who give Hahn any further responsibilities.
Zachary Baum August 12, 2011 at 07:41 PM
My position in the Hahn campaign is volunteer. I am a campaign volunteer for Kara Hahn. I support Kara Hahn because I believe she is the MOST qualified candidate for the job and I believe in what she stands for. My contributions to the Hahn campaign are me volunteering my time. I am a citizen of the 5th LD, as you probably are and so I am entitled to state my opinion. Volunteers of Mr. Moncayo's campaign are more then welcome to share there opinions on the race as well. I am commenting on this article in my capacity as a resident of the 5th LD. Originally I was assigned to Research, but my role in the campaign has evolved to one where I help where help is needed. All I did was state where I stand in this race, I am a registered voter, and a member of the community so like any other registered voter and member of the community I am entitled to Freedom of Speech, and Freedom of Press. All I said in my one and only comment was the reasons why I support Kara Hahn and the reasons that I hope my neighbors and friends in the community will as well. There is absolutely nothing inappropriate about that.
Faiza Akhtar August 12, 2011 at 07:56 PM
Message board comments are based on nothing more than individual party affiliations. Can we get a closer look at the individual platforms and what priorities each candidate thinks concerns our LD the most? How about a podcast of a debate between the two, moderated by Patch?
Esther Alessi August 12, 2011 at 08:06 PM
Mr. Baum is allowed to state his opinion. We still have freedom of speech in this country the last time I looked regardless of party affiliation or candidate affiliation. It is absurd to say that because someone has a role in a campaign that they are not entitled to express their support for their candidate of their choice. Let's all get on the bandwagon to support the efforts of young people to be involved in our civics. Mr. Lawrence Kelly needs a wake up call!!!!
Lawrence Kelly August 12, 2011 at 08:12 PM
Faiza is correct. The candidates should sit down and agree to three local debates and a separate overall debate in an office setting which can be podcast. That will give all voters a chance to see the candidates in person and to also have a podcast debate available. I encourage the candidates to get together and make those arrangements.
Doug Silverstein August 16, 2011 at 03:21 AM
Oh Kara, yes all this County needs is another career politician to continue to chase middle class families off Long Island and feather their own corrupt political ambitions. If you want to be forced off Long Island by the career politicians like Kara due to high property taxes and the loss of your middle class job, vote for Kara. I'm sure she won't disappoint you!

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