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May 1, 2013 8:12 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Nuzzi Will Challenge Schneiderman For County Legislature Seat

May 1, 2013 3:35 PM

Southampton Town Councilman Chris Nuzzi announced on Tuesday night that he plans to challenge Suffolk County Legislator Jay Schneiderman for his seat in this fall’s election.

Mr. Nuzzi screened with the Southampton Town Republican Party on Tuesday night and said on Wednesday morning that he will soon reach out to the local GOP leadership in East Hampton and Riverhead to express his desire to be the party’s candidate in the county race.

“We’ll see what the next several weeks brings, but if offered the nomination, it is a race that I am interested in,” Mr. Nuzzi said on Wednesday morning. “I think we can do better as it relates to representation on the County Legislature.”

The decision by Mr. Nuzzi to enter the county election ends months of speculation about what post, if any, the popular Republican councilman would seek, since he is prevented from running for reelection to his council seat again by the town’s term limits.

He had stated early on his desire to remain in government and Mr. Nuzzi had been talked about as the favorite for the County Legislature seat when Mr. Schneiderman revealed earlier this year that he was exploring a run for town supervisor in East Hampton, a post he held from 1999 to 2003. Mr. Schneiderman withdrew from that race and announced he would seek reelection to a sixth and final term in the county government in March.

“I’ve done my job as a legislator and I hope people will judge me on my record of accomplishments,” Mr. Schneiderman said in reaction to Mr. Nuzzi’s announcement on Wednesday morning. “I’ve only had compliments from [Mr. Nuzzi] in the past. I guess he’s going to have to find a reason why people shouldn’t reelect me.”

Mr. Schneiderman was originally elected to his county seat as a Republican but switched to the Independence Party in 2008. In his first reelection bid after the switch he was endorsed by both the Republican and Democratic parties and ran unopposed. In 2011, the GOP endorsed Cornelius Kelly to challenge him but the Montauk incumbent won in a landslide.

Mr. Schneiderman said he expects that Mr. Nuzzi will ultimately secure the endorsement of the Republican and Conservative parties and that he will have the Democratic and Independence party lines as well as the much smaller Working Families Party endorsement.

Southampton Town Republican Party Chairman William Wright said on Wednesday that he thinks Mr. Nuzzi will be a formidable challenger to Mr. Schneiderman.

“Chris has been a great representative of the town,” Mr. Wright said. “He’ll give Jay a good race.”

Mr. Nuzzi’s announcement also casts the town supervisor race in a new light, since many had thought he might seek to unseat incumbent Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst. The town GOP has screened two candidates for the supervisor race: former Supervisor Linda Kabot and political newcomer James Sandford. Ms. Kabot has said she plans to seek the nomination from the party and many have said that if the party committee shuns her, as it has in the past, she would likely mount a primary challenge to whomever is chosen.

The race for the two Town Council seats up for election this year remains cloudy, as neither party has identified front-runners for their nominations. The Republican Party has a lineup of interested parties. On Tuesday night, Golden Pear owner Keith Davis screened with the Republicans for a council nomination, joining a long list of other hopefuls, including Mr. Schneiderman’s 2011 challenger, Mr. Kelly, Southampton banker Stan Glinka, and Bridgehampton resident Jeff Mansfield.

The GOP has not, however, screened Councilman Jim Malone, who is up for reelection to a second term on the Town Board. Mr. Malone said on Wednesday that he has not ruled out running for his seat again and said that his own registered party, the Conservative Party, has not held screenings at the local level yet and until it does he did not see it as appropriate that he screen with any other party.

Mr. Malone was the GOP’s initial choice as its nominee for supervisor in 2007, before party leadership gave the nod to Ms. Kabot, who was the incumbent supervisor at the time, to avoid a primary. Mr. Malone instead ran for council and won, along with Mr. Nuzzi, by a comfortable margin.

The Democrats have been holding weekly screening sessions for a month and party chairman Gordon Herr said this week that they have spoken with “many good candidates.”

Brad Bender, who ran with the party’s endorsement in 2011 and narrowly lost to Councilwoman Christine Scalera, has screened and is expected to be a sure nominee. Deputy Supervisor Frank Zappone has also reportedly screened with the Democrats for a seat on the council and would presumably have the strong support of Ms. Throne-Holst and the Independence Party.

Mr. Herr declined to discuss any of the individuals who have screened for the council seats but said that securing two candidates who will win the council seats is the party’s top priority for November. A Democratic win in both seats would give the party a majority on the Town Board, and a super-majority coalition with Ms. Throne-Holst, an Independence Party member who has won three elections with the party’s endorsement.

The GOP and Conservatives would have to hold on to both seats to keep its current control of the board.

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Nuzzi's been swilling at the public trough too long. He's rarely in Town Hall, and apparently he couldn't get one of the county jobs he's been angling for, so now he's after Schneiderman's job?
By goldenrod (505), southampton on May 1, 13 11:17 AM
... "popular" and "favorite to win" - says who? This sounds more like an endorsement than objective reporting. Ridiculous - get real.
By William Rodney (561), southampton on May 1, 13 11:57 AM
2 members liked this comment
The "popular" does seem to be a stretch here IMO.
By PBR (4956), Southampton on May 1, 13 12:16 PM
"the popular councilman"?! Republicans and democrats alike have called him lazy and out of touch. No surprise that this article was written by Michael Wright. He constantly injects personal opinion and bias in to his "journalism". Time to get rid of him, 27East.

As for Nuzzi not running against Throne-Holst, perhaps the democrats could take advantage of this opportunity, step up to the plate and nominate a challenger
By progressnow (556), sag harbor on May 1, 13 12:44 PM
Looks like Chris Nuzzi's been reading a little too much Cervantes. It's hard to see how anyone could displace Jay Schneiderman, who is as good a County Legislator as the South Fork's ever had, much less Chris Nuzzi, who seems to spend Town Board meetings either dozing or texting when he isn't bickering with the Supervisor.

Jay Schneiderman has been there for us on everything that matters, from supporting far-sighted candidates for local office, to fighting the homeless sex offender trailers, ...more
By Turkey Bridge (1979), Quiogue on May 1, 13 12:51 PM
I would say that his high vote counts would deem him quite popular. To the contrary of the biased political comments on this website, I've known him to be very well liked by the regular folk. We'd be lucky to have him representing us in the county. Go Chris!
By hb guy (17), Hampton Bays on May 1, 13 12:58 PM
2 members liked this comment
Wow, what a bunch of bull. You got it "hb guy" biased political comments at it's best! Chris Nuzzi is the only honest, tell you how it is, political figure I've met in a long time. He stands behind what he believes is right, does not back down and is one of the most hard working, INVOLVED people I've seen in a long time! Get your head out of the clouds people, this is real life! Stop thinking Democrat or Republican...REAL PEOPLE need Chris Nuzzi! Go get'um Chris!!
By mlynnking (4), East Hampton on May 1, 13 1:12 PM
Curious to know what Dan Murray of the Fairway Cafe at Poxabogue Golf Course might want to add to this conversation . . . .

By PBR (4956), Southampton on May 1, 13 1:39 PM
Say, mlynnking of East Hampton with your 1st comment on this site, how many Southampton Town Board meetings have you attended in the last five years to see Chris Nuzzi up front and personal? I've been there at most of them, so I know what I'm talking about.

"Honest"? "Hard working"? "Involved"? Chris Nuzzi? Really? You could still watch the tapes of those meetings, all of them, or you could just check out my 27east post of 3/21/10 at 11:36 AM under "Councilwoman Fleming privately ...more
By Turkey Bridge (1979), Quiogue on May 1, 13 2:51 PM
persistence is a wonderful thing TB, but there comes a time when you have to admit that he is not up to the task.
He's had a Democratic County Exec turn Republican, then a Democratic County Exec again, and still can't get the job done.
By But I'm a blank! (1283), Hampton Bays on May 1, 13 10:00 PM
Didn't take long for the "usual suspects" to start weaving their tail of woe. And then to have the gaul to compliment Mr Schneiderman on his "efforts" in regards to the Riverside homeless sex offender trailer to boot! IT'S STILL THERE IN FULL OPERATION!!!!
By But I'm a blank! (1283), Hampton Bays on May 1, 13 1:53 PM
Dear Turkey Bridge: Thanks for quoting some of the important parts of my post! I didn't realize that my lack of prior comments would be an issue..Wow this place is tough. Be as it is, I appreciate Mr. Nuzzi's ethics and all that he stands for. As an EAST HAMPTON TOWN voter, I wish we had someone like him here. Regards, mlynnking
By mlynnking (4), East Hampton on May 1, 13 3:23 PM

Chris Nuzzi & Co. had commisioned a recent survey to see how he would do against either Kabot and Schneiderman in a mano a mano race. What this means is that the results probably showed he would get killed in an impossible Primary run against Kabot for the Republican spot.

To instead take on the proven formidable Jay Schneiderman implies he had better results against Jay in the survey, presumably showing he would merely be clobbered, because of La Valle's (his Crookhaven mentor) reputedly ...more
By Obbservant (449), southampton on May 1, 13 4:28 PM

On the Democratic side, it's looking like a full blown takeover of the increasingly vanishing, disappearing, and irrelevant Democratic Party of Southampton by ATH and her Independence Party and Conservative buddies.

For the third election cycle cycle in a row, the shameless and prideless remnants of the Democratic Party are again dictated to by ATH, fielding overwhelmingly, largely Independence Party candidates. The Dem Executive Committee should simply file an amendment to the Board ...more
By Obbservant (449), southampton on May 1, 13 4:46 PM
2 members liked this comment
Spot on, observant. The local democratic party is pathetic. The board is overrun with rethugs and their indepen"dence" party offspring. Run a freaking dem for supervisor already or watch the party go extinct!!
By witch hazel (224), tatooine on May 2, 13 4:13 PM
Chris Nuzzi is one of my best friends. He's a great father, husband, friend, public servant, and individual overall. It's tough to read politically charged slander about him when I know what a solid person he is. I don't partake in these comments much, but when I do I like to use my real name. I hope that for those of you who know me, my opinion of Chris carries some weight. Like me or not, I've always been honest and upfront - and that's exactly what Chris is like. Many. If not most of you anonymous ...more
By briantymann (31), westhampton beach on May 2, 13 9:29 AM
Mr Nuzzi has always been a respectful and honest member of Southamption Town Government. In this day and age, this is very hard to find. He is a life long East End resident not a person who has lived here less than 10 years who has nop idea of the issues. He has worked dilligently at his task of protecting the financial aspects of the town of Southampton. His intergity should speak for itself. He tells it like it is even if it is painful for some to hear.
By Legal Immigrant (11), Southampton on May 2, 13 11:20 AM
1 member liked this comment
Mr. Nuzzi has the same values and integrity as many politicians which isn't saying much. If he pursues this, skeletons may come out of the closet.
By Mrs.Sea (268), Sag Harbor on May 2, 13 1:48 PM
I have known Chris Nuzzi for a little over 10 years now. I believe he is a great candidate for this position. Mr. Nuzzi is an honest and very down to earth guy. He's a very knowledgeable man who is extremely level headed when it comes to politics. He stays away from all the slander and drama that other politicians are known for. I honestly believe that he can only benefit the east end community! It blows my mind when I see other users on this site criticize him. He would never speak in such a manner ...more
By lmf74 (2), Westhampton Beach on May 2, 13 4:02 PM
2 members liked this comment
What gets me angry is a lot of people not knowing the way things are here on the East End. Chris Nuzzi is perhaps the hardest-working Town Board members of any East End town. I've met him at various community events in Southampton Town over the past eight or so year and my opinion of the man is great. He's one of the few who's always on-call - from doing the obligatory community events like parades, pasta nights and carnivals to caring enough about neighbors to sit down one on one with them about ...more
By BlueCollarHB (1), Hampton Bays on May 3, 13 7:41 AM
Heyyy, look at all the first-time commenters (mlynnking, Imf74, BlueCollarHB) and infrequent commenters (hb guy, briantymann, Legal Immigrant) rallying behind Chris Nuzzi. That's a sure sign that the GOP Machine has put out the call for its people to post some pro-Nuzzi stuff so the man doesn't get totally slammed.

Here's how they do it -- this is from a 2011 email by Republican activist Marietta Seaman to the whole GOP Committee, calling for letters to the press in support of the ticket:

"We ...more
By Turkey Bridge (1979), Quiogue on May 3, 13 1:36 PM
1 member liked this comment
I noticed the same pattern.

Disgusting, if true.

Is Eckart's still open early in the morning?
By PBR (4956), Southampton on May 3, 13 3:06 PM
Hey Turkey B, of course you're absolutely right, all the old timers in Southampton know that, as the Republicans know that, and have been doing this to you forever. This is the old and very effective and strategic Republican machine that's been doing exactly this for the last 50 years or so. And it's a no-brainer winning strategy. Applaud them, they've got all the jobs, control of the agencies, the Police Dept, even the Justice system with Burke and Co.

The problem is all you Dem Executive ...more
By Obbservant (449), southampton on May 3, 13 4:42 PM
2 members liked this comment
And you, Obbservant, are most likely a good lady with good intentions, but there's a great deal that goes on that you know nothing about -- I'd say about half of what goes on, and that's the way it is, it can't be changed.

If it were that simple, I couldn't blame you for reaching wrong conclusions, but in fact there's a lot you could figure out just by watching events. You seem to equate the Independence Party with bad policy -- or at least you deplore the cooperation between the Indies ...more
By Turkey Bridge (1979), Quiogue on May 3, 13 8:24 PM
"Fred Thiele, Jay Schneiderman and Anna Throne-Holst are clearly pursuing an agenda that is, by any measurement, far more Democratic than Republican. So what's the problem?"

Simply out of touch. Since when has being "more Democratic than Republican (Thiele and Jay are ex-Republican Indies, and ATH is only a user who practices only the politics of Opportunism)" been the rallying cry of any Democrat.

You risk dismay of loyal Party members who disdain walking the streets getting ...more
By Obbservant (449), southampton on May 4, 13 9:26 AM
Why not? That's how you guys and gals have been doing it for years ... in election years ... lol!!
By Board Watcher (534), East Hampton on May 21, 13 11:42 PM
The real problem with Nuzzi is that he is part of the backroom deal making, crooked police chief endorsing Republican majority. The best thing that could happen with Nuzzi is if he were to resign his seat and run against Schniderman. Wishful thinking...
By bird (829), Southampton on May 3, 13 6:43 PM
It's easy for individuals to make cheap shots at Chris Nuzzi, but it takes a strong individual to take these shots and continue to do the best for our community. That's what Chris does.
By Lovebeingretired (1), West Hampton beach on May 4, 13 10:06 AM
1 member liked this comment
Another first-time poster, dollars to doughnuts recruited by the Republican powers-that-be to get out there and say something nice about Chris. You guys are so transparent.
By Turkey Bridge (1979), Quiogue on May 4, 13 2:05 PM
1 member liked this comment
The comments that come out of some of you are just unreal. Just because I'm a first time commenter doesn't mean I'm not entitled to my opinion. No one forced me to write anything about Chris Nuzzi. I chose to write something because some of these coments are truly disgusting. I believe that everyone is entitled to their opinion. However, some of the grown adults posting on here clearly have the maturity level of a teenager.
By lmf74 (2), Westhampton Beach on May 4, 13 2:01 PM
2 members liked this comment