Tom Knobel, a former chairman and vice chairman of the East Hampton Town Republican Committee, is at the helm once again, replacing Chairman Kurt Kappel.
The roughly 25-member organization elected Mr. Knobel to fill the new vacancy on December 11. He had served as vice chairman since early 2012 and chaired the committee from about 1997 to 2005.
Mr. Knobel said he will be taking the reins when the party’s next big challenge is the 2014 Congressional elections, in which the Republicans aim to oust longtime U.S. Representative Tim Bishop, a Democrat from Southampton.
“The Republicans have made it no secret that we don’t believe Tim Bishop is adequate representation, and we’re going to work to replace him,” Mr. Knobel said.
Mr. Kappel, who served as chairman since January 2012, will remain a committeeman, despite stepping down as an officer. He said this week his decision comes because his wife, Lisa Rana, will run for reelection to a fourth term as a town justice, in the fall 2015 election.
“It’s just too close to home,” he said. “I didn’t want to be the chairman when she was running.”
Mr. Kappel, who was picked by the GOP in September to continue to lead for another year, said he considered staying on for another three to six months, but ultimately decided it was best to step aside if he did not plan to be chairman during the next local election. He called Mr. Knobel a “great choice.”
The committee is still deciding on a new vice chairman, said Greg Mansley, committee spokesman. He added that Mr. Knobel will do a fine job and has the committee’s support.
“He’s a smart man. He’s been in politics for quite some time,” Mr. Mansley said.
The GOP commended Mr. Kappel for his time and efforts at its December 11 gathering.
“It’s a good challenge,” Mr. Knobel said this week. “We’ve had efficient, effective government by the Republican Town Board. We’re obviously hopeful that our taxes stay as low as possible for the future and that services will be delivered.”
The party committees reorganize every two years, the GOP in odd years and the Democrats in even years, Mr. Knobel said.
Officers’ terms expire on Primary Day in September, and the committees typically reorganize shortly thereafter.