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Jun 2, 2015 4:19 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Southampton Town Ballot Is Shaping Up

Jun 3, 2015 10:33 AM

The Southampton Town ballot is shaping up for this November, with both the Democratic and Republican parties naming their candidates last week for town supervisor, Town Board, Town Trustees, and town justice.

Most eyes will be on the Southampton Town supervisor race, with Anna Throne-Holst announcing she will not seek reelection and instead will make a bid for Congress. But the ballot will be without a longtime name in town politics: Southampton Town Justice Edward D. Burke Sr. has opted not to seek reelection.

Mr. Burke, 71, of Southampton confirmed Wednesday morning that he will not be seeking a sixth four-year term after serving on the town bench for the past 20 years. Mr. Burke, a Republican, was last reelected in 2011 when he was cross-endorsed by the Democratic, Conservative and Independence parties.

Last week, Gary Weber won the GOP’s nomination for Southampton Town justice to replace him, while the Democratic Party tapped Adam Grossman to fill his shoes.

In the supervisor race, the Democrats have tapped current Suffolk County Legislator Jay Schneiderman to replace Ms. Throne-Holst, while the Republicans have chosen Southampton Village Trustee Richard Yastrzemski.

“Anna has a great opportunity to move on to the national level and, thanks to the Southampton Democrats, I look forward to a campaign that will stress the importance of consensus-building and a hamlet-oriented approach to problem solving,” Mr. Schneiderman, who served two terms as the supervisor of East Hampton Town, from 2000 to 2004, before running for the county post, said in a release this week. “Our ticket is balanced geographically and brimming with expertise and community services.”

At the Republican Committee meeting last week, where he was officially tagged as the supervisor candidate, Mr. Yastrzemski said he is excited for the opportunity because he loves serving his community.

“I’ll admit, when it was offered to me a while ago, I’ll admit that the chances of it … there are a lot of powerhouses out there … a lot of people considering it,” Mr. Yastrzemski said. “I went home, thought about it and spoke with my family about how much I love doing this. I love serving the community and serving the people and want to be a very integral part of helping turn around the Southampton Town Board and taking control of the Town Board for this party and for the community at large. The divisive board, the battles—all of that only makes for good press, but it doesn’t get things done.”

The race for Town Board will also be contested, with Republican incumbent Christine Scalera going against several newcomers to retain her seat for a second four-year term. There are two Town Board seats up for grabs. The Republicans have also nominated Damon Hagan, an attorney from East Quogue, to run for a seat. Hampton Bays resident Julie Lofstad and John Bouvier of Westhampton are running on the Democratic ticket.

In the Town Trustees race—all five seats are up—incumbents Eric Shultz and Bill Pell, and newcomer Tim Corwin, were tapped to run for the Democrats. On the Republican side, incumbents Scott Horowitz, Ray Overton and Ed Warner will seek reelection, and the slate also will include newcomers Bruce Stafford, a former Sag Harbor Village trustee and former Sag Harbor fire commissioner, and Susan Mastronardi of Westhampton Beach.

Southampton Town Tax Receiver Terri Kiernan, who has served in that post since 2007, was selected by the Republican Party to run for reelection, and the Democrats did not choose a challenger.

Southampton Town Republican Committee Chairman Bill Wright said his party has an upper hand in this year’s elections, as its slate features those who have been deeply involved in the community for years.

“Unlike my opponents, who are all good people as well, we have people that are really invested in this community,” Mr. Wright said. “Jay Schneiderman, while he has been a legislator for the district, he was in Montauk. I think people really like to see people who are invested in their community and not just as a pit stop.”

He added that Mr. Yastrzemski, who is in his fourth two-year term as a village trustee, is a great fit for supervisor because he has deep roots in the municipality and knows how to get things done.

“I’m excited. I think we have a great slate,” Mr. Wright said. “Our top of the ticket, unlike the other side, is actually born and raised in the Town of Southampton. I think he has a strong handle on what needs to be done to run a town.”

But the Democratic Party feels the same way about its candidates, saying that it will be a good race. Chairman Gordon Herr said he and other party officials are particularly excited about this year’s election and that the Democratic slate is one of strongest in years.

“We decided that these were not only the best choices but that they are exceptional choices,” Mr. Herr said Thursday morning. “We feel that we have an amazing slate, with Jay Schneiderman, who has tremendous experience and background. We are comfortable and optimistic.”

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