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Aug 11, 2015 5:12 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Southampton Town Candidates Campaigns Heating Up

Aug 12, 2015 9:37 AM

Candidates for Southampton Town office are getting ready to kick their campaigns into high gear for the November 3 vote.

For the first time in years, the position of town supervisor is wide open, with incumbent Anna Throne-Holst opting to forgo her last term and throw her hat into the ring to battle incumbent Lee Zeldin to represent the 1st Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives next year.

In the supervisor race, longtime Suffolk County Legislator and former East Hampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman, a Democrat, is looking to take the top seat. He will face Republican and current Southampton Village Deputy Mayor Richard Yastrzemski.

For the Town Board, four will duke it out for two seats. Among the four is Republican incumbent Christine Scalera, who will be joined on the GOP ballot by political newcomer and attorney Damon Hagan. Ms. Scalera and Mr. Hagan will face off against Democrats John Bouvier and Julie Lofstad.

“It is certainly a multi-faceted campaign plan,” Mr. Hagan said of his team’s strategy. “We are always going door to door talking to people. It is great to get the personal interaction with that homeowner.”

So far in his campaign, Mr. Schneiderman said he has been able to make a great deal of progress by attending events as a Suffolk County legislator. He said he has always been supportive of the community, and that over the summer he has been working to put together his election team, as well as attending fundraisers and local events. “Just doing my job puts me out and about, and I get to meet a lot of people, so I have an advantage there,” he said.

Likewise, Mr. Yastrzemski has been making the rounds, but he has been working to get his name and face out beyond Southampton Village, where he has served the past eight years. His focus has been on attending as many events as possible, including the Greek and Polish festivals, fire and EMS benefits, and civic association meetings.

“You name it, I’ve been there,” Mr. Yastrzemski said. “There are events I have been going to for years anyway, but they are a little different now.”

Both men said their campaigns will take on a much faster pace following Labor Day.

“After Labor Day, I will be spending a lot of time going to things like CAC meetings and Town Board meetings,” Mr. Schneiderman said. “I will be refining my message and reaching out to voters about who I am and what I stand for, and why my team is best for Southampton.”

Mr. Yastrzemski said he will be staying the course with his campaign, but making more stops along the way. “It will just be a little bit more busy,” he said. “My style is to serve the interests of our public employees and how to best serve the taxpayers—that has always been my style, to get out there and listen to the people.”

Town Board candidates all have similar plans, with Labor Day marked as the turning point for the campaigns since local residents will be less likely to be away on vacation.

Ms. Scalera said her campaign plan is to run on her accomplishments so far on the Town Board. “I feel like I have a record that I can run on that demonstrates success and resonates with people on myriad issues,” she said. “I am trying to get out there now and talk to as many people as possible.”

For Ms. Scalera’s running mate, political newcomer Mr. Hagan, the goal this summer has been to get his name out there to as many people as possible. He said he hopes to keep his campaign as community oriented as possible, and that local events are what make a community unique.

“I am a strong believer that through the support of local community events, private partnerships, and grant applications, we can do a lot to revitalize our hamlets without burdening the taxpayers,” he said.

On the Democratic ticket, both Mr. Bouvier and Ms. Lofstad have already launched grass-roots campaigns and have been going door to door to meet people. Come September, Ms. Lofstad said everything will be a little crazier, as she will be attending as many events as possible.

“We have been doing a lot of walking and talking, which I really enjoy, because you get to talk and hear what their specific issues are and what they are concerned about,” Ms. Lofstad explained. “I am learning more about the town that way.”

For Mr. Bouvier, everything is already speeding up. He ran unsuccessfully for Southampton Town Trustee last year—this year, he said, will be different, because he is running with a team, and the support is making everything easier.

“It is a little bit difficult not being an incumbent, because you don’t get some of that information they have,” he said. “You always know what the issues are from a distance. But meeting with people who are influential in that sense, it is important. The campaign, it sort of grows now exponentially.”

More information can be found about each of the candidates for both Town Board and town supervisor at their Facebook pages and their party websites. The Democratic nominees can be found at shdems.org, while the Republicans are at southamptongop.com.

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Run Damon Run! I've known Mr. Hagan for years. We've been involved in many civic and charitable groups together. He will make an excellent councilman.

He worked his way through Law School Surf Clamming with his Father. My kind of politician.
By Draggerman (955), Southampton on Aug 12, 15 9:41 PM
Bit of a Freudian slip there, Damon Hagan, talking about knocking on doors and having "the personal interaction with that homeowner." You think that none of those people answering the door are renters?

It's a typical GOP thing, the unthinking bias for homeowners over renters, but that's not what really troubles me about Damon Hagan.

What really troubles me is that I was at the August 11 Town Board meeting when Damon Hagan spoke in favor of additional hearings on the proposed ...more
By Turkey Bridge (1979), Quiogue on Aug 17, 15 4:06 PM
1 member liked this comment