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Oct 29, 2013 3:04 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

East Hampton Town Candidates Head Into Final Stretch Before Election Day

Oct 29, 2013 5:53 PM

With Election Day this Tuesday, November 5, the campaign season has entered its homestretch. In this final week before voters head to the polls, the chairpersons of both major political parties in East Hampton Town said they are confident their respective candidates will prevail, although one local state assemblyman says the Democrats have an edge.

Democrats had the edge when it came to fundraising. Campaign 2013, the Democrats’ fundraising committee, reported total receipts of $102,645.50 and expenditures of $93,997 throughout the season, according to the New York State Board of Elections. The committee had a closing balance of $8,648.50.

A separate committee, the Friends of Larry Cantwell, dedicated to Mr. Cantwell’s election as supervisor, reported total receipts of $86,899 and expenses of $42,661 with a closing balance of $44,238.

Meanwhile, the East Hampton Town Republican Committee reported total receipts of $22,600 and expenses of $16,153.24 for the same period and a closing balance of $9,264.23.

The Friends of Dominick Stanzione, a committee devoted to the reelection of Mr. Stanzione, a Republican Town Board member, reported $51,371.17 in total receipts for the same period and $48,917.42 in total expenses and a closing balance of $3,178.75.

The Friends of Fred Overton, dedicated to the election of Mr. Overton to the Town Board, reported total receipts of $27,374 and total expenses of $23,296.72 throughout the season, and a closing balance of $4,077.28

The campaigns for Democratic Town Board candidates Job Potter and Kathee Burke-Gonzalez are funded by Campaign 2013.

Together, Campaign 2013 and the Friends for Larry Cantwell reported total receipts of $189,544.50 and expenses of $136,658, while the Republican Committee, and Stanzione and Overton committees combined add up to $101,345.17 in total receipts and $88,367.39 in total expenses.

Mr. Cantwell, the recently retired East Hampton Village administrator, is running unopposed for the town supervisor’s seat this year on the Democratic, Independence and Working Families party lines. He declined a Republican nomination, saying that voters should be offered a choice on the ballot that wouldn’t exist if his name occupied all parties’ slots. He then officially declined the Republican ballot line after winning a write-in primary in September. Springs resident Martin Drew launched a write-in campaign for supervisor less than two weeks ago.

Four candidates are vying for two open seats on the Town Board, although with two Democrats already on the board, and Mr. Cantwell a shoo-in for the supervisor’s seat, the board majority will turn Democratic even if the two Democratic candidates, Job Potter and Kathee Burke-Gonzalez, lose.

Republican Incumbent Mr. Stanzione is seeking a second term and points to his record in helping pull the town out of a massive debt and authoring certain legislation, such as a comprehensive deer management plan and wastewater management plan.

Fred Overton, the town clerk, is not registered with a party, but is running on the Republican line and shares a similar platform with Mr. Stanzione. Both, for example, would like the town to continue to accept Federal Aviation Administration funds for East Hampton Airport, while their Democratic counterparts would like to complete further analysis, but are more inclined to reject those funds. Mr. Overton and Mr. Stanzione have both publicly warned against the board having five Democrats.

Mr. Potter, a former councilman, is seeking a return to the board, emphasizing his commitment to preserving open space and tightening code enforcement, among other issues. His Democratic running mate, newcomer Kathee Burke-Gonzalez espouses a similar platform and points to her leadership role on the Springs School Board as key.

State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr., an Independence Party member, said this week that a number of factors going into this year’s Town Board race favor the Democrats.

One, he said, is their growing enrollment, a trend that has continued over the past couple of decades, leading to the town having about 2,000 more registered Democrats than registered Republicans.

A second factor in the Democrats’ favor, he said, is the Republicans’ lack of a supervisor candidate and the given that the Democrats will gain the Town Board majority no matter what. “It makes it harder for Republicans to come out and vote when—before you start—the Democrats have won.”

“The third part is that there is this kind of schizophrenic view of the Wilkinson administration,” he said, referring to outgoing Republican Supervisor Bill Wilkinson, who is not seeking reelection. “They did an outstanding job in restoring the town’s finances to a healthy level, but at the same time, on a host of issues, there seems to be a lot of negative reaction.”

This reaction, he said, “keeps Republicans from saying, “Look how great we’ve been the past few years. Keep us in office.”

Individually, he praised all the candidates as excellent, naming Mr. Potter’s “proven track record,” Mr. Overton’s popularity, Mr. Stanzione’s advantages of incumbency and Ms. Burke-Gonzalez’s School Board experience.

“They’re all very good candidates, but I would have to give the edge to the Democrats,” he concluded.

Kurt Kappel, the chairman of the town’s Republican committee, said this week that the GOP candidates have all worked hard. “I think they are the most experienced to take over the board,” he said, pointing to Mr. Overton’s Town Hall longevity and Mr. Stanzione’s work on deer management, the airport and sewage. Mr. Kappel also pointed out, “The Democrats always outspend us, but spending money doesn’t produce winners.”

Jeanne Frankl, the chairwoman of the town’s Democratic committee, said, “I think the Democrats are going to sweep the Town Board race. I think there’s a kind of hunger for leadership that our candidates will add to the well-known consensus, leadership-building of Larry Cantwell.”

The other contested races in East Hampton this year include those for Suffolk County Legislature, where five-term incumbent Jay Schneiderman is seeking a sixth and final term on the Independence, Democratic and Working Families party lines. Republican challenger Chris Nuzzi, a Southampton Town Councilman, is trying to unseat him.

The town assessor’s race is a contest between incumbent Eugene DePasquale on the Democratic line and Joe Bloecker on the Republican line.

Competing for town justice are Carl Irace for the Republicans and Steven Tekulsky for the Democrats.

The Town Trustees’ race features 18 candidates seeking 9 seats.

Uncontested this year are the races for town highway superintendent (Stephen Lynch) and town clerk (Carole Brennan).

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Do you think "the Democrats have an edge"? Funny to see that Assemblyman now siding with a pro-airport candidate and an anti-airport candidate - guess he's playing right into his new "partnership" with Kelley and Lathem battling it out over the airport, with Gruber and Trunzo money inbetween! My how nice for the rest of us who have more pressing concerns than Conservator Tweetings ...
By Board Watcher (534), East Hampton on Oct 30, 13 10:30 PM
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