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Feb 11, 2015 11:34 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Political Positioning Begins For 2015 Southampton Town Election

Feb 11, 2015 3:12 PM

The 2015 election cycle in Southampton Town, and throughout the East End, appears to be lining up to feature a number of rare political treats.

A supervisor will be seeking a fourth term in Southampton Town’s top post. A Suffolk County Legislature seat that has changed hands only once in the past 25 years will be up for grabs. Members of the Southampton Town Board’s female majority all will be up for reelection and, in some cases, could be weighing a reelection bid against a run for a different political post.

And a lawmaker approaching 20 years in office might be considering a political step backward in his search for a new job.

Some of the early intrigue forming the scuttlebutt around Southampton Town Hall has been dispensed with right out of the gate: Two among Southampton Town’s longest-serving elected officials have emphatically declared that they will be running for reelection to their current positions in November.

Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst said she will definitely be seeking reelection to a fourth term this fall. Ms. Throne-Holst, a registered Independence Party member, has been cross-endorsed by the Democratic Party in each of her four campaigns, dating back to when she was elected to the Town Board in 2007. She was elected supervisor in 2009 and took office in 2010.

If she were to win a fourth and final term in office, it would be the first time a supervisor has served four terms since Supervisor Marty Lang served from 1979 to 1987 (five terms), following which term limits were adopted.

Ms. Throne-Holst also has been mentioned as a potential challenger to U.S. Representative Lee Zeldin in 2016 national elections—something that Ms. Throne-Holst said is not on her mind now, with the coming supervisor’s race. “I’m running for supervisor again,” she said flatly.

During the last town election cycle, Town Tax Receiver Terri Kiernan was discussed as a possible candidate for supervisor on the Republican ticket. Ms. Kiernan nipped in the bud any such discussion this time, saying Tuesday that she will be seeking reelection to another four-year term in her current office. It will be her third time running for the post; she was unopposed in 2011.

Another popular subject of whispers in town government circles is whether Republican Councilwoman Christine Scalera will challenge Ms. Throne-Holst for supervisor this fall. The two have butted heads on occasion but have otherwise presided over, as their parties’ respective elder stateswomen, a period of rare political congeniality on the Town Board. Ms. Scalera’s first term on the board will end this year, and she would have to choose between running for another four-year term on the Town Board or challenging Ms. Throne-Holst for supervisor.

Ms. Scalera, an attorney, said she has not made up her mind about which office she will seek, if any, come the fall. “I’m weighing all my options and discussing it with my family,” she said. “Right now, I’m very happy to be able to serve in the position I’m in now.”

Behind-the-scene political watchers said a challenge by Ms. Scalera is unlikely this year, when winning her own Town Board seat again would be a safer and easier task than challenging the fundraising juggernaut that Ms. Throne-Holst has brought to bear in recent elections. In 2018, when Ms. Throne-Holst would have to step down, that obstacle would not be there, and Ms. Scalera, if reelected this year, would clearly be the Republicans’ most formidable potential candidate.

“I would think the leaders will make a deal, and Anna will not have an opponent [this fall] … and, in exchange for that, Christine will get the Independence [Party] line, so she would have Republican, Conservative and Independence lines [for reelection to the Town Board],” said a source close to the local political parties, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Also this fall, the town justice seat held by Edward Burke Sr. and all five of the Town Trustees seats will be on the ballot.

At the county level, a young political newcomer has already thrown his hat in the ring for the race to replace Legislator Jay Schneiderman of Montauk, who is prevented from seeking reelection by term limits, after 12 years in office. With a bit of recent bolstering by Suffolk County GOP Chairman John J. LaValle, 29-year-old Amos Goodman of East Hampton already appears to have an early leg up on the Republican nomination to succeed Mr. Schneiderman, who was elected to the post as a Republican in 2003 but switched his registration to the Independence Party in 2007.

Mr. Goodman, or whoever comes out of the GOP corner, is expected to face a likely deep field of potential challengers. Democratic Southampton Town Councilwoman Bridget Fleming has been a popular focus of the rumor mill, and Ms. Fleming herself said that the race is one she is considering.

Ms. Fleming is coming to the end of her first full term on the Southampton Town Board and would have to choose between running for the county seat and seeking another term on the council. She was elected to the board in a special election in March 2010 to complete the term of Ms. Throne-Holst, after she was elected supervisor, and was reelected to a full term in the office in 2011. Ms. Fleming mounted an unsuccessful bid to unseat longtime Republican State Senator Kenneth P. LaValle in 2012.

Ms. Fleming said she is weighing her options between the various public offices on the table and some private sector opportunities. She said that continuing in public office is her main focus.

“I’m fortunate at this point to have a number of options to consider,” said Ms. Fleming, who lives in Bridgehampton. “I feel like I’ve really been able to do some terrific things on the Town Board, and it’s a great job, so I’m definitely eager to do more here. I also think the County Legislature is a place where folks who are committed to the good of their community have a chance to do some very impactful things. So if I were asked … I think that would be a wonderful place to serve also.”

East Hampton resident Zachary Cohen, who ran for East Hampton Town supervisor in 2011, has also voiced interest recently in running for Mr. Schneiderman’s seat.

Regardless of whoever ultimately succeeds him, Mr. Schneiderman said he is also considering where to turn next.

“I can’t retire yet, so I plan to be working next year, and elected office is something I’ve been involved with for 16 years,” Mr. Schneiderman said.

He said he has considered looking at a town office—though is not considering a bid to return to the East Hampton Town supervisor’s office, where he served two terms from 1999 to 2003 before being elected to the County Legislature.

“I’ve represented both East Hampton and Southampton for the last 12 years, I’ve lived in both communities, my kids live in Southampton, I’m building a new house in Southampton,” he said of his consideration of running for Southampton Town Board. “I won’t rule it out. Particularly if Bridget runs for my seat. We could swap offices.”

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Were Ms. Fleming (the only Democrat on the current Town Board) to run for the County Legislature and Mr. Schneiderman (a member of the Independence Party) to pursue a Town Board seat with a cross endorsement by the Democratic Party their would be no Democrats on the Town Board and a possible majority of 3 members of the Independence Party.

While Mr. Schneiderman has made a career out of running for public office first as an enrolled Republican later as an enrolled Independence Party member ...more
By NTiger (543), Southampton on Feb 12, 15 4:18 PM
It would be nice if Gregor ran for Fleming's seat. Would make for an interesting board.
By Toma Noku (616), uptown on Feb 12, 15 6:06 PM
2 members liked this comment
now that would be interesting!
By Roughrider28 (80), southampton on Feb 12, 15 6:52 PM
Fleming is the only one on town board who truly works for the community. Good for her for having so many options, she deserves them! Take a look at this sentance in the above article “I would think the leaders will make a deal, and Anna will not have an opponent [this fall] … and, in exchange for that, Christine will get the Independence [Party] line, so she would have Republican, Conservative and Independence lines [for reelection to the Town Board].." Throne Holst dealing for herself ...more
By Earthgirl (52), Southampton on Feb 12, 15 6:33 PM
1 member liked this comment
Earthgirl, "The only one who truly works for the community"? Where have you been? and what exactly has she done? Between her private practice and inability to work with anyone in Town hall I can understand her wanting to leave. Didn't she try and do that once already in a failed Senate race? As for "Christine", didn't she run the first time with that line? What was the conspiracy then? That's rhetorical as Im sure you can come up with some nonsense. How about just accepting the fact that ...more
By Roughrider28 (80), southampton on Feb 12, 15 6:51 PM
You are clearly misunderstanding my comments. I speak of Throne Holst, not Christine Scalera.
By Earthgirl (52), Southampton on Feb 12, 15 6:55 PM
Throne Holst takes the Democratic endorsement time and time again, ( and why wouldn't she?) then works for the R/C board member. It's a question of party affiliation, nothing personal against Scalera. She seems like a nice woman. My statement stands about Fleming. One of my concerns is our environment, and the republican/indy pattern of voting in favor of harmful development (watch for The Hills, Rte 39 Shopping Center vote) goes against my grain. CPF, her bond authorizations, farm market among ...more
By Earthgirl (52), Southampton on Feb 12, 15 7:24 PM
1 member liked this comment
Funny, some would say she's not quite conservative enough. She actually turned out to be quite even handed, I for one appreciate that. As for Rep/Indy voting patterns, didn't Scalera do something for Water Protection right out of the gate? She also spearheaded a community garden, a recycling educational campaign and fairly certain she voted in fair of all the bond authorizations you spoke of. Fiscally conservative, I would agree but definitely not old guard republican. Apprecaite your distinction ...more
By Roughrider28 (80), southampton on Feb 13, 15 7:04 AM
It's time to decide what each board member has actually done during their time on the board, besides collecting a fat paycheck. Watching them at meetings, it is apparent that some split their time between gazing intently at the ceiling, texting rather than listening, and looking like deer caught in the headlights when complicated subjects come up. They should go.
By moonpie (43), Southampton on Feb 13, 15 1:35 AM
Some Board members have actually accomplished quite a lot. They are in public service, hats off to them! Moonpie, if that comment is any representation of what generally flows from your mouth, I would suggest you are unfamiliar with what people look like when they are listening to you.
By Roughrider28 (80), southampton on Feb 13, 15 7:07 AM
What is called public service is a job like any other. Work is expected for pay given and results should be reviewed. When I watch board members on televised sessions regularly not paying attention to the business at hand, it is plain they are not doing their jobs. In the real business world, that inattention would not be tolerated.
By moonpie (43), Southampton on Feb 13, 15 12:26 PM
Roughrider, all the Board members work, to one degree or another, and those who don't put out sufficient effort should go, certainly. But that's not the point. The Supervisor, for example, has always worked hard, but she's still guilty of all the things that Earthgirl mentions.

It's only partly a matter of how much you work. The other part is what you're working toward. Bridget Fleming and Christine Scalera both work hard on the Board, but they're working in different directions, as ...more
By Turkey Bridge (1966), Quiogue on Feb 14, 15 11:41 AM
1 member liked this comment
George, there is another 3rd party line available for Democrats. The Women's line created in the last gubernatorial election. That provides a good home for those Reps who cannot check off a name on the Dem line.

However, you might be surprised to see exactly how much ticket splitting goes on in Southampton Town elections. Having witness numerous recanvasses of Town elections, I do believe that Bridget's victory was not an aberration but a sign that in the words of the Chambers Brothers ...more
By NTiger (543), Southampton on Feb 14, 15 1:15 PM
1 member liked this comment
How did she get a "raw deal"?
By But I'm a blank! (1283), Hampton Bays on Feb 14, 15 12:34 PM
Ms. Pope had the misfortune to incur (inexplicably) the ire of the Supervisor, as many have, including Bridget Fleming, Alex Gregor and the Trustees. When you're on the Town Board, the conflict is at close quarters and the Supervisor has great leverage. The object of the Supervisor's unhappiness experiences a host of negatives, large and small, overt and covert. It's unpleasant at best, intolerable at worst.

Ms. Pope underwent all of this, as Ms. Fleming still does. Then, the Supervisor, ...more
By Turkey Bridge (1966), Quiogue on Feb 14, 15 1:02 PM
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Even assuming, arguendo, you are correct on the necessity for support from the Indy Party (and obviously we disagree on that), the tail here is wagging the dog.

Four years ago, Bridget was denied the indy line, and 2 years later the Dem Committee gives 2 town board positions to Indy Party members.

Something is wrong with that picture George.

Think of the term "political malpractice".

For now I suppose we will continue to agree to disagree.

But there ...more
By NTiger (543), Southampton on Feb 14, 15 1:27 PM
1 member liked this comment
“I would think the leaders will make a deal, and Anna will not have an opponent [this fall] … and, in exchange for that, Christine will get the Independence [Party] line, so she would have Republican, Conservative and Independence lines [for reelection to the Town Board],” said a source close to the local political parties, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

I guess Ms. Pope just needs some leaders to come to an agreement which would void the wishes of the voters let ...more
By But I'm a blank! (1283), Hampton Bays on Feb 15, 15 4:22 PM
What a bunch of back room, petty politics!! How about voting for a candidate for their positions on ISSUES instead of Party affiliation?
By bigfresh (4594), north sea on Feb 14, 15 1:25 PM
1 member liked this comment
... TB, why are you cowering to these third rate, third party political hacks? You represent the party of Kennedy and Clinton, not Reagan and Romney. Time to step it up.
By William Rodney (558), southampton on Feb 16, 15 9:55 AM
Theodore Roosevelt once made a distinction between those who are "in the arena" in his words, fighting the fight every day, and those who aren't. The result is two very different perspectives.

We all want the same thing, but those of us who are in the arena see it differently from others. Let me tell you how I see my job, for which, by the way, I get nothing but the joy of victory or the sadness of defeat, which is all I ever expected, and that's fine.

My job is to elect people ...more
By Turkey Bridge (1966), Quiogue on Feb 17, 15 11:29 AM
Sleep with dogs, don't be surprised if you wake up with fleas.

Its not a deal when the tail is wagging the dog. Its political malpractice.

As a Democratic Committeeperson your duty and your job is to elect Democrats, not advance the Democratic agenda. That is, to my political upbringing, the fallacy in your argument, George.

The local political and governmental arena is laboratory for Democrats to advance to higher governmental positions, be they County, State or Federal. ...more
By NTiger (543), Southampton on Feb 17, 15 1:50 PM
Sorry Turkey, but you're not getting off the hook so easily, not when the beneficiary of these so-called compromises is a vicious, backstabbing, small-time provincial operator who, thanks to the enabling of Democratic Committee, now thinks she's headed to Washington. You say Anna is a hard worker. Are you alluding to the two hours a day she spends at the gym, desperately - some might say grotesquely - trying to approximate the contours of a twenty five year old? Or her ceaseless efforts at undermining ...more
By rabblerouser (46), Hampton Bays on Feb 17, 15 2:31 PM
And by the way, Sally Pope did not inexplicably incur the Supervisorissima's wrath. She had the misfortune of running against the Anna's then lover, Dan Russo who, needless to say, was on the opposing ticket. Oh, but right, People before Politics.
By rabblerouser (46), Hampton Bays on Feb 17, 15 3:03 PM
Politics is the art of compromise, we all know that. But when party leaders conspire to select candidates and ensure they have no competition, as in cross endorsements, the voters are the ones who get short changed. Its worse than term limits.
By But I'm a blank! (1283), Hampton Bays on Feb 17, 15 1:44 PM
Your are correct. Third parties originated to inspire new ideas in the two major parties. Think of Teddy Roosevelt and the Progressive or Bull Moose Party. But in New York third parties exist to create patronage.

The wholesale cross endorsements by the major parties in Suffolk in the past of County wide elected positions was a travesty.

If third parties believe the philosophies of either or both of the two major parties are in error then those third parties should be running ...more
By NTiger (543), Southampton on Feb 17, 15 1:56 PM
All of you who have so many good ideas -- so you think, not I -- why don't you get in the game and apply those ideas, instead of carping from the sidelines? Forgive me, but it becomes more than a little tiresome listening to those who aren't in the arena tell those who are how to compete. If you don't like the way things are going, dive in and change them. Maybe you'll even manage to retire those of us who have it all wrong.

NTiger is exempt from this remark because he has paid his dues ...more
By Turkey Bridge (1966), Quiogue on Feb 17, 15 10:35 PM
Thanks for that last paragraph, George. You got a nice chuckle out of me.

And, George, the reason the idealism dies, is we let it die. We allow ourselves to believe the system for all its flaws is still the best system.

There is less and less honor in politics and in government, because, sadly the public expects it and accepts it.

The voters do not lower the boom. The parties discourage increased voter turnout. They want the same small universe to turn it. They know ...more
By NTiger (543), Southampton on Feb 17, 15 11:32 PM
Thanks for that last paragraph, George. You got a nice chuckle out of me.

And, George, the reason the idealism dies, is we let it die. We allow ourselves to believe the system for all its flaws is still the best system.

There is less and less honor in politics and in government, because, sadly the public expects it and accepts it.

The voters do not lower the boom. The parties discourage increased voter turnout. They want the same small universe to turn it. They know ...more
By NTiger (543), Southampton on Feb 17, 15 11:32 PM
Point taken about voter disillusionment and the limitations of openness. But where, then, do we draw the line between that proper cooperation and compromise which produces concerted action (and is so lacking in Washington now), and on the other hand, what you view as corrupt deal-making?

Seems to me that both involve compromise, on policies or candidacies, or both. What is it that makes one right and the other wrong, when they're on the same spectrum and we have no criterion by which ...more
By Turkey Bridge (1966), Quiogue on Feb 18, 15 11:13 AM
To me its a question of political morality and ethics.

For instance take the situation where someone joins the Independence Party for purely mercenary reasons (i.e. no need to beg Frank for a Wilson Pakula). To me thats a fraud on the public and those individuals and I suspect their are at least 3 or 4 east end independence party member elected officials are guilty of this yet the Dem Committee continues to run them.

Or say a major party gives its line to 3rd party candidates ...more
By NTiger (543), Southampton on Feb 18, 15 3:57 PM
There's much in what you say, NTIger, though I don't agree 100%. One respect in which you're wholly wrong is this:

I am not aware of any deal-making on behalf of contributors. I don't know what you mean by "and others," but I know what a contributors is, and I'm not at all aware, much less "well aware," of any such deals.

There are open deals re candidate selection of the type I've described, but I'm unaware of any deal-making by the Southampton Town Democratic Committee or ...more
By Turkey Bridge (1966), Quiogue on Feb 19, 15 9:45 PM
Didn't mean to imply you were involved in any subterfuges George.

We leave the join the dots to the U.S. Attorney's offices. They do a pretty good job.

And, no, you are definitely not a stay silent in the room type.

Keep the small revolutions coming, the big one is overdue.

By NTiger (543), Southampton on Feb 20, 15 4:36 PM
When the compromise results in a candidate that several party bosses like as long as someones brother-in-law gets a job.
By But I'm a blank! (1283), Hampton Bays on Feb 18, 15 1:55 PM