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Feb 5, 2019 4:28 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

East Hampton Republicans Invite All Comers To Candidate Screenings This Weekend In Amagansett

Feb 11, 2019 11:27 AM

UPDATE: Thursday 11 a.m.

The East Hampton Republican Party will hold screenings for potential candidates for the Town Board and Town Trustees seats this Saturday and Sunday, February 9 and 10, at the American Legion Hall in Amagansett from 2 to 4 p.m.

The screenings are open to any East Hampton resident, regardless of political party registration, who is interested in being a candidate for one of the elected seats on this November's ballot.

"This process is open to all Republicans, Democrats, Independents, and non-party members," Party Chairman Manny Vilar says. "If you believe in East Hampton and love our community, then we want you."

The will hold its nominating convention on February 15, also at the American Legion in Amagansett, at which committee members will vote on their choices to fill out the ticket.

The Republicans have just four incumbents who are up for re-election this year: Town Justice Lisa Rana and Tax Assessor Jill Massa, and Town Trustees James Grimes and Susan Vorpahl, all of whom are expected to seek re-election. All three Democrats who hold Town Board seats that are to be on the ballot—Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc, Councilwoman Sylvia Overby and Councilman David Lys—have announced they are seeking re-election. Democratic incumbent Trustee Brian Byrnes is not expected to seek re-election but the other six incumbent Democrats on the board are.

ORIGINAL STORY:

As it seeks an avenue to win seats in town government this fall, the East Hampton Town Republican Party will begin holding candidates screenings this weekend, including at least some registered Democrats and others not affiliated with the GOP.

Party Chairman Manny Vilar said this week that the screenings scheduled for this weekend include registered Democrats, Republicans, Independence Party members and others not registered with any political party.

“We’re open to anybody that wants to run,” he said. “Party affiliation is unimportant. We’re not screening for president of the United States—we’re screening for town positions. So, your national party is not that important. We don’t have to agree on things at the national level—but on a local level, if we see eye to eye, come join us.”

As he has said since he took over the party late last year in the wake of felony charges being filed against former party Chairman Amos Goodman, who is accused of forging dozens of signatures on nominating petitions for last year’s election, Mr. Vilar said this week that he is resting his hopes for posting a strong slate on appealing to disgruntled Democrats and other voters who feel put out by the ruling party.

He declined to name any of the Democrats who are to screen with the GOP and said that he’s offered to hold their screenings in private to protect them from “retaliation” by others in their party.

Three seats on the Town Board, including the supervisor’s seat, will be on the ballot this year, as will all nine seats on the Town Trustees, two assessors seats and a town justice.

Incumbent Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc, Councilwoman Sylvia Overby and Councilman David Lys, all Democrats, have all said they will run again. The Democrats also hold a 7-2 majority on the Town Trustees.

With Democrats holding a more than two-to-one advantage in registration, Mr. Vilar has said that the only hopes for breaking the current administration’s stranglehold on town business is to appeal to Democratic voters to look past what line a candidate is on to the candidates themselves.

“It’s like, I’m a Red Sox fan, and I’m a Red Sox fan when they’re bad and I’m a Red Sox fan when they’re good,” Mr. Vilar said. “But you can’t do that in politics. Politics is people, and sometimes you have good people in charge and sometimes you have bad people. And when they are bad, you can’t keep supporting them just because they’re on your team.”

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