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May 27, 2009 11:52 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Dems united going into convention, party leader says

May 27, 2009 11:52 AM

After a contentious Republican convention during which committee members chose an outsider over their incumbent supervisor to carry the GOP mantle in November, Southampton Town Democratic Committee Chairman Gordon Herr said his party would be united behind an “extraordinary slate of candidates” after their convention Friday at the Southampton Inn.

That slate will apparently be led by Town Councilwoman Anna Throne-Holst, who confirmed Tuesday that she will accept the Democratic Party nomination for town supervisor, if she’s nominated as expected. She also identified the likely candidates on her ticket as incumbent Town Councilwoman Sally Pope, who is seeking reelection, and Sag Harbor attorney Bridget Fleming. The Democratic Party will finalize the nominations at its convention on Friday at the Southampton Inn.

In a statement issued Tuesday, Ms. Throne-Holst, a Sag Harbor resident, said she was “bolstered and deeply honored by the urging of many, many Southampton residents encouraging me to make this race.” She specifically cited the support of Republican New York State Assemblyman Fred Thiele, who she said has encouraged her to run for supervisor.

“We are now all aware that Southampton Town is in deep trouble, and the top leadership has shown itself unqualified to effect meaningful change,” she said in the written statement.

She identified key issues in this year’s race: the state of the town’s finances, what she said is the unresponsiveness of Town Hall to citizens’ concerns, the pace of land preservation, and “unfocussed and exclusionary management.”

She pledged to avoid negative campaigning, but in the written statement she offered an assessment of the incumbent, Linda Kabot, a Republican, and the Republican Party’s nominee for the post, Conservative Party Chairman Jim Malone: “The challenger has not demonstrated any capacity to manage town government, and the incumbent has demonstrated a complete incapacity to do so.”

She added, “I know that we’re all tired of the endless politicking and finger-pointing. Instead we have to focus on the business of building Southampton’s future.”

Mr. Herr said the Democratic ticket is not going to be about any individual candidate. “We need a change in leadership,” he said. “And that’s across the board.”

Mr. Herr said the candidates’ main qualifications will be dedication to serving the town. “That’s the big difference with us,” he said. “We’re all about serving the people.”

Though optimistic, Mr. Herr said he wasn’t taking anything for granted. “Right now, the initial impact is that the Republican Party is divided. But that could change,” he said. “They could regroup and be more powerful in the general election.”

Regardless of the outcome of what will likely be a Republican primary between Mr. Malone and Ms. Kabot, Mr. Herr said the Democratic strategy hasn’t changed.

“We’re going to field a good group that is going to be extremely good for the town. We’re going to bring back good governing,” he said. “I feel very energized. We’re still energized from last year.”

Brian Bossetta

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It's very hard to argue with the need for change, but the Democrats have to get the turnout. This is an off year, and that factor tends to favor Southampton Republicans.
By Turkey Bridge (1979), Quiogue on May 27, 09 11:10 AM
Kudos to Gordon! It is time for Southampton to embrace the democratic party and their exceptional candidates and leadership!!
By dagdavid (646), southampton on May 28, 09 4:11 PM
"Anna how do propose to fill your vacant seat should you win?"

A key question, INS, but don't expect a meaningful answer.

If the disoriented Republican Party cannot "get it together," there will be five women on the Town Board come January!

By Frank Wheeler (1826), Northampton on May 31, 09 11:31 AM