Special Election To Replace Brad Bender Scheduled For January

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Southampton Town voters will head to the polls on January 26 to replace former Councilman Brad Bender, who resigned last week after pleading guilty to federal charges related to illegally distributing oxycodone.

On Monday, the Town Board scheduled the election for the last Tuesday of January. While it is not yet clear who will be on the ballot, both the town Democratic and Republican committees are slated to finalize their tickets in the next few weeks.

According to Nick LaLota, Republican commissioner of the Suffolk County Board of Elections, the special election will cost the county approximately $60,000.

This week, Democrat Julie Lofstad, who finished third in her campaign for one of two Town Board seats in November, finishing just 110 votes behind her Democratic running mate, John Bouvier, said that she is very interested in throwing her hat back into the ring. However, she noted that nothing will be finalized until after a nominating convention in the next few weeks.

“I would be honored to run again,” she said. “You don’t get many second chances in life, so if I am nominated I am certainly, absolutely willing to go ahead and run again, so I can get in and help the people of Southampton.”

On Wednesday, Southampton Town Democratic Committee Chairman Gordon Herr said the committee will hold its nominating convention quickly—by early next week. At the moment, he said, the committee is considering three candidates, including Ms. Lofstad; he declined to name the other two.

Republican Damon Hagan said he is also considering a move to put his name back on the ballot after garnering 4,365 votes in November, 333 votes less than Ms. Lofstad and 443 behind Mr. Bouvier.

“The ultimate decision will lie with the county, but I will be screening for it on Tuesday,” Mr. Hagan said.

Another Republican considering a run is Richard Yastrzemski. Currently the Southampton Village deputy mayor, Mr. Yastrzemski ran in November against Southampton Town Supervisor-elect Jay Schneiderman, and tallying 43.63 percent of the vote.

Mr. Yastrzemski said he has not made a decision about a possible run for the board yet, but he said he is considering the possibility.

“It has been mulled around, but there has been no commitment made,” he said. “There are many players being tossed up and discussed.”

Mr. Bender won his four-year term in November 2013, and was sworn in on January 1, 2014. The winner of January’s election will finish out the remainder of Mr. Bender’s term, which is set to expire in 2018. The salary for Town Board members is $63,240 annually.

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