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Jan 6, 2010 11:21 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Parties gear up for nominating committees

Jan 6, 2010 11:21 AM

The Southampton Town Republican and Democratic committees this week will be selecting candidates for a March special election to fill the Town Board seat vacated by Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst, and the Independence Party will pick a nominee not long after that.

The committees have already gone through screening processes and have whittled down the list of hopefuls to a select few. The Republicans, who are considering Dr. Tod Granger of Noyac, Scott Horowitz of East Quogue, William Hughes of Hampton Bays, and Rebecca Molinaro of Remsenburg, were scheduled to hold a nominating convention on Wednesday evening at Villa Tuscano in Hampton Bays. The Democrats will hold their convention today, January 7, at the Southampton Inn at 7 p.m.

The front-runner for the Democratic nomination seems to be Bridget Fleming of Noyac, who ran unsuccessfully for Town Board on the Democratic ticket in November. Gordon Herr, the chairman of the Southampton Town Democratic Committee, refused to disclose who the committee plans to tap. Other potential Democratic candidates include Brad Bender of Flanders, who serves as the president of the Flanders, Riverside and Northampton Community Assocation, and Chris Garvey of Hampton Bays, who was defeated in November when he ran for a seat on the Southampton Town Board of Trustees.

The Southampton Town Independence Party, which will not hold a formal convention, will select its candidate in the coming weeks, according to Chairman Steve Lynch. He declined to identify any of the candidates the Independence Party is considering.

Ms. Throne-Holst, who ran for supervisor on the Democratic ticket, had said in December that she wanted to see the Republicans and Democrats come together to select a Town Board candidate both could agree on, eliminating the need for potentially divisive, contentious campaigns and election. “In a perfect world, that is what we would do,” Ms. Throne-Holst said this week. “But I doubt that would happen.”

Mr. Herr said he didn’t think such an agreement could be reached, and that doing so would defeat the purpose of the election. “It would be taking the decision away from the voters,” he said. “It’s highly impractical and illogical.”

The special election may be held either March 2 or 9, about 60 days after Ms. Throne-Holst’s inauguration, as per town law, the supervisor said this week. The Suffolk County Board of Elections is asking the town to hold the election on either of those days to coincide with other special elections occurring across the county.

“I was more than amenable to do that,” Ms. Throne-Holst said.

The Democrats screened a number of people and came up with a short list of prospects, Mr. Herr said. Then, the Democrats’ nine-member executive board interviewed all of the candidates on the short list, and picked the one they thought would make the best Town Board member. That person—who Mr. Herr would not identify—will be voted on by the rest of the Democrats at the convention, though other candidates can be nominated at that time as well.

“We are looking for someone independent, someone who will be a consensus candidate, and someone who is dedicated and committed to being of service to Southampton Town,” Mr. Herr said.

The process of selecting Republican candidates is slightly different. Each of the four people who were screened—Dr. Granger, Mr. Horowitz, Mr. Hughes, and Ms. Molinaro—were to speak to all of the Republicans at the convention, according to GOP Chairman Ernest Wruck. Each candidate will most likely be nominated by members 
from the floor, and anyone else who wishes to run for the open seat could try for a nomination as well, Mr. Wruck said.

After the nominating process, the committee will cast secret ballots for who they want to nominate, Mr. Wruck said, noting that the votes are weighted depending on votes cast in the last gubernatorial race. Whichever of the four or more hopefuls vying for the seat garners the most votes during the convention becomes the official candidate for the Southampton Republican Committee, Mr. Wruck explained.

“I think, to use an overused phrase, we’re looking for Republican values, which is less government, lower taxes, less regulation, and more private job creations,” Mr. Wruck said. “Those are the values that distinguish us from Democrats.”

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Sounds like the local Dem party is at odds with their choice for Supervisor. She wants consensus and they want a dem to balance the board. Herr is right - this is for the voters to decide.
By yearrounder (208), Southampton on Jan 6, 10 10:10 AM
are the meetings today 1/6/10 and tomorrow 1/7/10-the article is confusing
By EastEnd68 (888), Westhampton on Jan 6, 10 10:19 AM
Yes, they are.

The article is written as if today is Thursday, January 7, because that is the day the paper comes out. Sorry for the confusion.
By BOReilly (135), 27east Web Editor on Jan 6, 10 10:39 AM
Independent already reported that Bridget Fleming was selected last night-or did I hear that wrong
By EastEnd68 (888), Westhampton on Jan 6, 10 12:40 PM
In fact, after our Eastern Edition deadline, Gordon did confirm to us that she will be the choice. But that won't be official till the convention.
By Joseph Shaw, Executive Editor (206), Hampton Bays on Jan 6, 10 2:40 PM
I appreciate Ms. Throne-Holst's call for a consensus, but I'm not sure that the formal election process can be usurped.
By Frank Wheeler (1823), Northampton on Jan 6, 10 10:59 AM
It is routinely usurped when the parties cross endorse candidates.
By Publius (358), Westhampton Beach on Jan 6, 10 12:38 PM
agreed, publius. The reason we have parties is so that we can vote for candidates who we believe represent our ideals. They help us know where someone stands on the issues - of course once they get in office they abandon all pretense.
By peoplefirst (787), Southampton on Jan 6, 10 1:03 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By RealLocal (76), Bridgehampton on Jan 6, 10 1:40 PM
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