East Hampton Town Democrats broke a months-long silence on Monday after the party’s screening committee recommended on Monday that it tap East Hampton Village Administrator Larry Cantwell over former supervisor candidate Zachary Cohen to headline this year’s election ticket.
The screening committee also recommended Springs School Board President Kathee Burke Gonzalez and former Town Councilman Job Potter to run for Town Board alongside Mr. Cantwell.
The recommendations are not final picks, and must be subject to a vote of the entire committee of approximately 32 members at the Democratic Nominating Convention next Wednesday at St. Michael’s Lutheran Church in Amagansett. The convention will take place at 7 p.m. and will be open to the public, according to Jeanne Frankl, the party’s chairwoman.
Mr. Cantwell touted his “lifetime of experience in the community and understanding people from different walks of life throughout East Hampton.”
“I think they saw in me a public official who has 37 years of experience working in local government as an elected official and an appointed official in various roles, and someone who’s reasonably well-regarded in the community,” Mr. Cantwell said on Tuesday.
The Democrats announced the screening committee’s picks in a press release on Monday.
“East Hampton Democrats were proud of the roster of fine people who came to us to screen for the supervisor and council positions this year, although it required some difficult decisions,” said Betty Mazur, the committee’s first vice chairwoman, in the release. “In Larry Cantwell, Kathee Burke Gonzalez and Job Potter, we have recommended a group of seasoned leaders with diverse experience, expertise and connections to our community, all committed to our Democratic principles and known for their ability to work effectively with others. With current Democratic Councilpersons Sylvia Overby and Peter Van Scoyoc, they will make up an effective team for solving the challenging problems facing our town at this time.”
The screening committee is made up of about a dozen members of the wider committee.
In addition to Mr. Cantwell and the Town Board candidates, the screening committee recommended nominating Town Assessor Eugene DePasquale for his current post, Steven Tekulsky for East Hampton Town justice, a position being vacated by Justice Cathy Cahill who is retiring and Deputy Town Clerk Carole Brennan to replace Town Clerk Fred Overton, who is retiring from his post and running for Town Board on the Republican ticket. Ms. Brennan has been endorsed by the Republican Party. The screening committee also recommended the cross-endorsement of Republican Steven Lynch for Town Highway Superintendent.
On Monday, Ms. Frankl spoke to the “unique” quality of excellent candidates to screen with Democrats this election season. She said she felt the nomination of Mr. Cantwell reflected generally who the committee as a whole feels is right for the job. She also said she would frown down upon a primary election for the supervisor seat, noting that Mr. Cohen had rejected the idea of running for Town Board, which many in the community asked him to consider.
Mr. Cohen remains optimistic about next week’s convention.
“I congratulate Larry, Kathee and Job on receiving their recommendations,” Mr. Cantwell said in an email statement. “ I look forward to a fair and transparent Democratic Party Nominating Convention, where all the committee members will be able to hear from me and my supporters. I believe that when we present my vision for the future along with what I have accomplished for East Hampton and the Democratic Party in the last three years, I can win the majority vote of the full committee.”