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Feb 5, 2013 6:19 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

This Year's East Hampton Town Races Begin To Heat Up

Feb 5, 2013 6:26 PM

East Hampton Town’s political circles are already buzzing about Election Day 2013, with Republicans getting an early start and conducting their first candidate screening last month.

This year’s race promises to be an active one. Republican East Hampton Councilwoman Theresa Quigley has already announced she won’t be seeking a second term, leaving her seat open. Republican Supervisor Bill Wilkinson hasn’t publicly declared whether he will seek another two-year term.

Several well-known names have surfaced as potential supervisor candidates, including Democrats Zachary Cohen, who headed the party’s ticket in 2011 and East Hampton Village Administrator and former Councilman Larry Cantwell who said, while still undecided that he is leaning “very strongly toward becoming a candidate.” Democratic Councilman Peter Van Scoyoc’s name has also been mentioned as possible candidate for the town’s top elected position.

Suffolk County Legislator and former Supervisor Jay Schneiderman, a member of the Independence Party, is also weighing a run.

Also, Town Clerk Fred Overton’s seat is up for grabs. Deputy Town Clerk Carole Brennan has expressed interest in running for Town Clerk. Mr. Overton has told Republicans he’s interested in running for Town Board.

In addition, Republican East Hampton Town Trustee Lynn Mendelman plans to step down at the end of the year. And Republican East Hampton Town Trustee Joe Bloecker said he’s considering running for town assessor, although he’s made no final decisions.

Mr. Wilkinson has not yet publicly said whether he will seek another two-year term, but that didn’t stop the East Hampton Town Republican Committee from holding its first screening for supervisor and other seats on Tuesday, January 29. Mr. Wilkinson didn’t show up, according to Kurt Kappel, the chairman of the party. But Mr. Schneiderman did.

“My sense is the screening went well,” said Mr. Schneiderman, a former Republican East Hampton Town supervisor. He plans to screen with the Democrats as well.

Mr. Wilkinson didn’t return calls seeking comment this week. In the past, he has said he didn’t understand why he had to screen with the party in the first place, since his credentials should be apparent after having served three years in office.

On the Democratic side, the names of Mr. Cantwell, Mr. Cohen and Mr. Van Scoyoc have been mentioned.

“I’m very close to making a decision and I’m leaning very strongly toward becoming a candidate,” Mr. Cantwell said this week.

Mr. Cohen, who became a registered Democrat last year after not being registered with any party, said he plans to 
screen with the Democrats. Mr. Cohen lost to Mr. Wilkinson 
by 15 votes in 2011.

Mr. Van Scoyoc would not comment on whether he was interested in screening for supervisor. He confirmed that some people had asked him to consider it. “I have not made up my mind,” he said.

Screenings with the East 
Hampton Town Democratic Committee should begin sometime at the end of the month, and will take place on Sundays until candidates for all 
positions are screened, according to Jeanne Frankl, the chairwoman of the East Hampton Democratic Committee. The East Hampton Independence Party plans to hold open screenings in mid-March, according to Elaine Jones, chairwoman of the party.

Ms. Frankl, Ms. Jones and Mr. Kappel said they haven’t ruled out cross endorsements of candidates. Mr. Frankl said it might be difficult for her party to cross-endorse Mr. Schneiderman since they already have a strong pool of potential candidates to draw from.

“Democrats are like everybody else—they tend to have a bias toward Democratic candidates,” Ms. Frankl said. “If there are really good people around, and if it’s a matter of what people are thinking of bringing the community together, I don’t think we need to go outside our Democratic circle to do that in the supervisor race.”

On January 29, the East Hampton Town Republican Committee screened for the positions of supervisor, highway superintendent and Trustee. Incumbent Highway Superintendent Stephen Lynch screened with the committee, Mr. Kappel said, as did a number of current Trustees—Nat Miller, Timothy Bock, Sean McCaffery, Stephanie Forsberg, Diane McNally and Deborah Klughers. Ms. Mendelman, a four-term incumbent, is stepping down at the end of the year because of work commitments, she said this week. Mr. Kappel said Tom Cooper, an East Hampton resident, also screened for a Trustee seat.

“We’re still looking for a couple other Trustees too because there’s nine seats to fill,” Mr. Kappel said.

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Jayo Ono don't deserve to be elected dog catcher.
By we could run this town! (129), the oceanfront trailer park on Feb 8, 13 3:05 AM
yes ... well perhaps you clowns would like to step up.
By Board Watcher (534), East Hampton on Feb 10, 13 1:00 PM
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