Newsday – By Denise M. Bonilla – Updated July 9, 2017 9:20 PM

The race for two Babylon Town council seats has gone from no competition to a flurry of candidate declarations and a dropout, all within days.

The seats up are those of incumbent Democrat Tony Martinez and Independence Party member Lindsay Henry, who is not seeking re-election. Anthony Manetta last month announced he was running with the backing of the Independence, Republican and Conservative parties. Suffolk County Democratic chair and town Supervisor Rich Schaffer said he supported Manetta and no Democrat was named to run.

That didn’t sit right with Liuba Grechen Shirley, 36, an Amityville Democrat who on June 28 announced her intention to run with the backing of the Working Families Party. The next day Lindenhurst Democrat Claire McKeon declared she was running also. Then on July 3 Grechen Shirley announced she was dropping out of the race.

The race for two Babylon Town council seats has gone from no competition to a flurry of candidate declarations and a dropout, all within days.

The seats up are those of incumbent Democrat Tony Martinez and Independence Party member Lindsay Henry, who is not seeking re-election. Anthony Manetta last month announced he was running with the backing of the Independence, Republican and Conservative parties. Suffolk County Democratic chair and town Supervisor Rich Schaffer said he supported Manetta and no Democrat was named to run.

That didn’t sit right with Liuba Grechen Shirley, 36, an Amityville Democrat who on June 28 announced her intention to run with the backing of the Working Families Party. The next day Lindenhurst Democrat Claire McKeon declared she was running also. Then on July 3 Grechen Shirley announced she was dropping out of the race.

But Bill Lipton, state director of the Working Families party, took aim at the Democrats.

“Clearly there was a deal to give the candidate on the Republican line the seat without an election,” Lipton stated. “At a time when progressives need to be fielding strong candidates for every winnable seat, this perpetual deal-making with the Republicans by Suffolk County Democrats is just unacceptable.”

Schaffer said because the major parties are nearly even in enrollment, he has to be “strategic” when it comes to supporting candidates.

“I have to figure out how to put the coalitions together to get our Democrats elected,” he said. “I understand what the new people who are coming into the party are saying, that we should be competing for every seat, but I also have to raise all the resources to compete for every seat.”