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Apr 17, 2013 11:05 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Busy Southampton Town Election Season Continues To Shape Up

Apr 17, 2013 11:17 AM

The early days of the 2013 campaign cycle in Southampton Town have revealed a crowded field of potential candidates under consideration by local parties, with a gaggle of newcomers among them.

“It was wonderful to see a lot of new faces in the political realm,” Southampton Town Republican Party Chairman William Wright said on Wednesday morning, the day after 17 people showed up for the party’s first round of screenings in Hampton Bays. “We’ll see how it plays out, but everyone there was very knowledgeable and well prepared, which is a good thing for the town in general.”

Among the crowd of new faces at Villa Tuscano restaurant on Tuesday night was Sag Harbor businessman James Sanford, who screened for the supervisor’s nomination but said he also would be interested in being considered for a Town Board post if the party saw fit. A new resident of the East End, Mr. Sanford said was spurred to wade into local politics following the last round of local elections.

“I can’t just sit back and watch,” he said. “You know what they say—think globally, act locally.”

Former Supervisor Linda Kabot also screened for the supervisor race before a room packed with more than 50 members of the GOP Committee. Before her screening, Ms. Kabot said that she has been asked by both local and county party leaders if she would consider running for one of the two council seats open in this year’s race. She said she has an attorney investigating whether that would be something she could legally do, since she was already elected to two terms on the council—she left midway through the second term when she was elected supervisor—and whether, if elected, she would have to step down after just two years because she’s already served six years on the board. Town law limits councilpersons to two four-year terms.

“I’m gearing up for the supervisor race, since that’s what my supporters have told me they want me to do,” she said. “But I’m not ruling anything out.”

Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst kicked off her campaign for reelection this week, announcing she will hold a fundraiser in Southampton on May 9.

Councilman Chris Nuzzi, thought by many to be the favorite for the GOP supervisor nomination, still has not declared whether he is interested in challenging Ms. Throne-Holst, a registered Independent who has been endorsed by the Democratic Party in each of her two supervisor election campaigns. Mr. Nuzzi also has been discussed as a possible candidate to challenge Suffolk County Legislator Jay Schneiderman, or as a possible town highway superintendent candidate.

The highway superintendent race is certain to be a crowded one. Six people screened with the GOP committee on Tuesday, including incumbent Highway Superintendent Alex Gregor, a registered Independent who was also endorsed by the Democratic Party in 2009 but not by the Republicans. Also among the crowd who screened for the nomination was Chris Garvey, also an Independent, who Mr. Gregor has suggested is the chosen candidate of Ms. Throne-Holst—with whom he has had a well-publicized rocky relationship, despite their political ties—to challenge him for both the Independence and Democratic party endorsements.

One of Mr. Gregor’s employees, John Tedesco, also screened for the highway nod on Tuesday, and he received an enthusiastic round of applause from the committee members at the end of his time in front of them behind closed doors. Mr. Wright said he did not recall what Mr. Tedesco said that drew the applause.

Town Trustees Ed Warner, Eric Shultz, Fred Havemeyer and Bill Pell also screened on Tuesday night. Trustee Jon Semlear is not seeking reelection. The two are both longtime Republicans who left the party after being dropped from the party campaign two years ago because they accepted cross-endorsements from the Democratic Party. Both won reelection but then switched their registration to Democrat, marking the first time in more than 50 years that the Board of Trustees did not have a Republican majority.

Scott Horowitz also screened on Tuesday for a Trustees nomination, as did Ray Overton and John Bouvier. Mr. Horowitz was on the GOP ticket in 2011, seeking to unseat Mr. Pell, an Independent, but lost.

The party will hold a second round of screenings next month, at which more veteran political players are invited to screen.

The GOP has just two incumbents eligible for election to their current post this year: Town Trustee Edward Warner and Councilman Jim Malone, who has not yet said whether he plans to seek reelection. Mr. Malone is a Conservative Party member and the party’s county chairman, so both his decision about his own political pursuits as well as his voice in the nomination process will be an important one before the GOP nominating convention in late May.

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Time to see changes around this Town...
By SHTownHB (75), Hampton Bays on Apr 17, 13 2:46 PM
2 members liked this comment
Time to make the Highway Department answerable directly to the board and stop with the finger pointing and blame game farce...
By V.Tomanoku (790), southampton on Apr 17, 13 3:18 PM
Time for our leaders to roar like lions and LEAD!

Clear-cut campaign pledges on the SHT PD Snafu, etc. required.
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Apr 17, 13 7:01 PM
PS -- The NOTA party is rumored to be assembling a campaign platform.

Go Monty Brewster!
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Apr 17, 13 7:04 PM
Who will challenge ATH from the left? Are the Dems entirely without qualified candidates?
By progressnow (556), sag harbor on Apr 18, 13 9:04 AM
1 member liked this comment

The Democrats no longer have a Party that represents them It's now the ATH party and whatever she wants the Executive Committee to do, it does. To field majority Frank Mckay Independence Party (an outgrowth of the GOP and Conservative Parties) candidates year in and year out,-no problem. Loyal Democratic candidates ignored and marginalized, no problem.

It's become a joke Party that no longer stands for Democratic principles and ethos, instead hilariously dancing to a an Independence ...more
By Obbservant (449), southampton on Apr 18, 13 12:23 PM
Malone has not done the job voters hired him to do. He needs to be replaced by someone who will. He works full time for the county and is rarely at town hall except for required meetings. Collecting salaries from both this town and the county, he calls himself a fiscal conservative. Another term might be more apt. He will probably get the GOP endorsement because he heads the Conservative Party and the GOP wants the Conservative line for all of its candidates. The local GOP has never been one to ...more
By goldenrod (505), southampton on Apr 18, 13 11:13 AM
3 members liked this comment
Definitely true about Malone
By SHTownHB (75), Hampton Bays on Apr 18, 13 7:02 PM