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May 27, 2015 12:11 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Democrats See Strong Challenge For Congress With Throne-Holst On Ticket

May 27, 2015 12:11 PM

Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst has yet to make official her campaign to challenge U.S. Representative Lee Zeldin in 2016, but that has not prevented Democratic Party veterans—who are expected to back the Independence Party member—from acknowledging that they are practically salivating over her chances of unseating the freshman Republican.

With the presidential election coinciding with the congressional contest next year, Democrats say they expect voter turnout to be robust, particularly among some demographics that could be expected to boost their party’s chances in the congressional race.

And with Hillary Clinton, a former U.S. senator from New York, the presumptive Democratic Party nominee for president, the first time a woman would be a major party’s nominee, turnout by women has the potential to reach all-time highs—a factor that could additionally benefit a female candidate in other races.

Such factors, plus Ms. Throne-Holst’s history of being able to tap the deep pockets of some of the most well-heeled residents of the Hamptons for fundraising, has some Democratic Party players saying that the supervisor from Southampton is already the favorite to get the nod.

“She really brings a very unique background to the race,” said Robert Zimmerman, a Southampton resident and a Democratic National Committee member. “She’s proven herself to be a top executive and a very smart and effective fiscal manager, and a visionary in terms of policy. I see consensus building for Anna both in Suffolk and nationally.”

Prognosticators need only look at the voting results from 1st Congressional District elections of the recent past to see the sort of trend that Democratic forecasters drool over, regardless of who their candidate ends up being.

Last November, Mr. Zeldin captured Mr. Bishop’s seat with 94,035 votes to Mr. Bishop’s 78,722. Six years earlier, when he had first challenged then-Congressman Bishop, Mr. Zeldin received 115,00 votes but was trounced in the election, with Mr. Bishop, a Democrat, finishing with more than 162,000 votes.

In 2010, a non-presidential year and a year when Republicans made large gains in Congress nationwide, Mr. Bishop won one of the narrowest congressional elections ever over challenger Randy Altschuler, with just over 98,000 votes. Two years later, against the same candidate, both men drew much larger numbers of votes, but Mr. Bishop won easily with about 146,000 votes to Mr. Altschuler’s approximately 132,000.

Election veterans note that Democrats do see a better turnout of their base voters at the polls in presidential years, particularly by women, Latinos and so-called “millennials,” the generation of 20-somethings who polls show are broadly left-leaning but unreliable with poll attendance.

“The Democratic Party is getting increasingly younger and the Republican Party is getting increasingly older,” Mr. Bishop said this week. “The coalition that carried Obama in 2008 and 2012 was driven by African-Americans, Latinos and young people. They came out in droves in 2008 and 2012, and they stayed home in 2010 and 2014. That will not happen in 2016—especially in New York if Hillary is the nominee.”

Mr. Bishop noted that the other declared candidate for the Democratic nomination, private equity manager and Suffolk County Planning Commission member David Calone, also brings an impressive resume to the race.

Other sources within the party said they do not expect a primary challenge from either candidate next summer, stating that, by then, the party will be resolved and support the strongest challenger to Mr. Zeldin.

Ms. Throne-Holst’s record of robust fundraising will lend her candidacy luster to party leaders as well, even as money is expected to be directed to the race from national coffers. In her two most recent supervisor campaigns, Ms. Throne-Holst raised upward of $100,000, a paltry sum compared to the tens of millions that will be thrown at the congressional race, but a badge of the ability to corral donors even for a local campaign.

Ms. Clinton’s campaign has said it expects to have to spend some $2 billion on her presidential run, and the Hamptons are sure to be a significant waypoint on the road to that goal. A local candidate with deep roots into deep pockets will be an attractive partner.

“There will be one Clinton fundraiser in the Hamptons next summer,” Mr. Zimmerman quipped, “it will begin on Memorial Day and run until Labor Day.”

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This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By bigfresh (4249), north sea on May 29, 15 8:34 AM
1 member liked this comment
So this fully explains the passage of every PDD and pro development proposal to cross the town board. It wasn't about her new real estate career, it was about money for her congresional campaign. Local Dems shouldn't be so thrilled with their choice. She's an unknown once she's out of the local area and the locals are fully aware she sold us out for money. She's not even a democrat. I don't see her inspiring anyone.
By bird (777), Southampton on May 29, 15 9:55 AM
1 member liked this comment
Except those approvals all required a super majority - so what was everyone else's excuse?
By Nature (2966), Southampton on May 29, 15 2:13 PM
Simple, repubs would be expected to vote with the developers, Bender is ATH's patsy. There ya go: super majority.
By bird (777), Southampton on May 29, 15 3:14 PM
Oh Golly Gee I didn't realize it was so simple.

Even I what you state is true - why are they blame free? Their vote counts as much as ATH's.
By Nature (2966), Southampton on May 29, 15 3:44 PM
You are correct. They should be held accountable in the next cycle.
By bird (777), Southampton on May 29, 15 4:16 PM
1 member liked this comment
During the campaign, hopefully the truth will be revealed about the tragic hit-and-run death of Sister Jackie Walsh almost 3 years ago on July 9, 2012.

'Nuff said.

Rest in Peace, Sister Walsh . . .
By PBR (4907), Southampton on May 29, 15 12:56 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By chief1 (2660), southampton on May 31, 15 12:39 PM