Betts Forces Primary Election Against Gregor For Working Families Line

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There will be two primary elections in Southampton Town this September, neither in the traditional sense.

Republican highway superintendent candidate David Betts has successfully forced a primary election in his race with incumbent Superintendent Alex Gregor, an Independence Party member who has been cross-endorsed by the Democrats, for the Working Families Party line.

And Republican town supervisor candidate Linda Kabot might petition for the Conservative Party line, though it is not yet clear whether she will actually be challenging anyone.

Mr. Betts last month submitted an “opportunity to ballot” petition, forcing the primary election, though it did not earn him a spot on the actual ballot. Mr. Gregor’s name, as the party’s official endorsed candidate, will be the only one on the ballot.

But supporters of Mr. Betts who are registered Working Families Party voters may write-in his name—or any other name they choose—on the special ballot that they will be giving out by polling place workers.

His name can also be stamped on the ballot, though the stickers that candidates have used in the past, and could be handed out to supporters ahead of time, will not work on the new voting machines.

There are just 153 registered Working Families Party voters in Southampton Town.

Mr. Gregor and Mr. Betts are both currently slated to appear on two lines on the November ballot: Mr. Gregor on the Democratic and Independence lines, and Mr. Betts on the Republican and Conservative lines.

The other primary election is still somewhat up in the air.

Ms. Kabot has challenged the validity of the Conservative Party candidate for supervisor, Howard Heckman III, because Mr. Heckman and several others who signed his nominating petition had already signed her petition. If Mr. Heckman is deemed by the Board of Elections to not have a valid petition, there would be no names on the primary ballot and whoever got the most write-in votes on primary day would win the party’s endorsement.

Because other primary elections had already been scheduled, for both the Suffolk County sheriff and district attorney races, polling places were already scheduled to be open town-wide on primary day, September 10. As a result, there will not be a substantial cost to hold the special primary elections, according to Suffolk County Board of Elections officials.

Michael Wright

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