The Southampton Town Democratic Party announced its slate of candidates for the fall election last Thursday night, May 23, headlined by Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst and Town Council candidates Brad Bender and Frank Zappone.
In addition to Ms. Throne-Holst, two other incumbents also will be on the Democratic line, Highway Superintendent Alex Gregor and Town Clerk Sundy Schermeyer.
In her bid for a third term as supervisor, Ms. Throne-Holst will be joined in the campaign by her deputy supervisor, Mr. Zappone, and Mr. Bender, with whom she also ran on the Democratic ticket two years ago, a race Mr. Bender narrowly lost to Councilwoman Christine Scalera.
Ms. Throne-Holst is a registered Independent who has been endorsed by the Democrats in all four of her successful election campaigns for town office. She will be facing former Supervisor Linda Kabot, a Republican, on the campaign trail for the third time.
Mr. Bender, also a registered Independent, and Mr. Zappone, a Democrat, will be challenged by political newcomers Jeff Mansfield and Stan Glinka on the Republican ticket.
“I’m going to run on my record,” said Mr. Zappone, who has been deputy supervisor since Ms. Throne-Holst took office in 2010. “I’m not running against anybody, I’m running for something.”
Mr. Bender, a builder from Northampton, said he would dedicate himself fully to his post in Town Hall, if he wins in his second bid. “This will be my full-time job,” he said.
The town clerk, Ms. Schermeyer, a registered Republican and a member of the party’s election committee, has been unchallenged for the office in two successive campaigns after being cross-endorsed.
Mr. Gregor is an Independent who was endorsed by the Democrats when he captured the highway superintendent post four years ago, believed to be the first time a Democrat had ever held the office. But Mr. Gregor’s frequent and sometimes public disagreements with the Town Board, and Ms. Throne-Holst in particular, had recently led to grumblings from political insiders, and Mr. Gregor himself, that he might see a challenge from his own side of the aisle—especially when fellow Independence Party member Chris Garvey screened for the office earlier this spring.
But on Tuesday night, Mr. Gregor was again standing beside Ms. Throne-Holst and the other Democratic-endorsed candidates. He will face the Republican nominee, David Betts, who is currently the head of the town’s Code Enforcement office.
The Democrats also stirred the political pot a bit on Thursday when they nominated a full slate of five candidates for the Town Trustees. Incumbents, and new Democrats Trustee Eric Shultz and Trustee Fred Havemeyer are running their first race as registered Democrats, having defected from the Republican Party following the 2011 elections.
In the heat of that campaign, the first time in decades that the Republicans did not have five incumbent Town Trustees seeking reelection, the Republicans shunned Mr. Shultz and Mr. Havemeyer midstream, dropping them from campaign literature and fliers and told them they would not receive future nominations because the two longtime Trustees accepted cross-endorsements by the Democrats. The lone non-Republican from that race, Trustee Bill Pell, an Independence Party member who broke the Republicans’ decades-old stranglehold on the Trustees seats when he won in 2009, will again be endorsed by the Democrats this time around.
The three incumbents will be joined by boatbuilder and shellfish grower Howard Pickerel and Democratic Party committeman John Bouvier.
Earlier this week the Republican Party nominated four candidates for the Trustees—Ed Warner Jr., Scott Horowitz, Ray Overton and Cornelius Kelly. Only one, Mr. Warner, is an incumbent. Just four nominees were proposed for candidacy at the party’s convention last Monday, but the GOP Executive Committee could award a fifth nomination if it can find a willing candidate.
The crowded pool of Trustees candidates jockeying to be among the top five vote-getters will lend particular weight to the endorsements of the Independence Party, which has the third-most registered members in the town, and the other smaller parties this year. The five candidates who secure the Independence nominations on June 1 will have a substantial leg up in the electoral mathematics.