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May 31, 2012 9:27 AMPublication: The East Hampton Press

Fleming Will Compete Against Maertz For Shot To Challenge LaValle For State Senate Seat

Jun 6, 2012 1:48 PM

Two Democrats are preparing to duke it out in a primary election this September for a chance to unseat longtime Republican New York State Senator Kenneth P. LaValle and become the 
first woman ever elected to the seat.

Last week, Bridget Fleming, a Democratic Southampton Town councilwoman from Noyac, kicked off her campaign for Mr. LaValle’s seat, months after fellow Democrat Jennifer Maertz, a trial attorney from Rocky Point, declared her intention of doing the same. Ms. Fleming, who has served on the Southampton Town Board since 2010 and was just reelected to a four-year term last November, said she came to the decision to run sometime in the past week, after months of considering the idea through an exploratory committee.

Ms. Fleming will need to wage a primary race against Ms. Maertz, who ran an unsuccessful challenge against Mr. LaValle two years ago. Ms. Maertz announced in February that she would once again challenge Mr. LaValle, a Port Jefferson resident who was first elected to represent the 1st Senate District in 1976.

“We are prepared to primary,” Ms. Fleming said on Thursday morning. “I intend to present my credentials and my vision for the East End, and we’ll see what the voters decide, if it comes to a primary.”

Ms. Fleming has already released a YouTube video statement explaining why she’s running for office. The video was uploaded on Wednesday, May 30.

“I’m running for office because our kids deserve better,” Ms. Fleming said in the video. “Suffolk County is ready for fresh, new leadership in the New York State Senate. Suffolk County is ready for its first female senator. Suffolk County is ready for a government that answers to taxpayers and not special interests. Please join me and I commit I will work for you and for our kids to lead us toward a prosperous, thriving Long Island.”

Last Thursday, Ms. Maertz said she fully intends to stay in the race—and she took a jab at Ms. Fleming’s decision to run, saying she was surprised at the councilwoman’s decision, since she was just recently elected to a four-year term on the Southampton Town Board.

“Within days of being sworn into her first full term as a councilwoman in Southampton, she started talking about running for State Senate,” Ms. Maertz said. “I really didn’t think she was going to renege on her commitment to the voters in Southampton. That’s why I am surprised she is going through with this.”

To primary for the seat, the two will go through the petition process, soliciting signatures from registered Democrats, said Ms. Maertz. That process was expected to begin this week, according to Ms. Maertz.

The signature petitions are due July 12 to the Suffolk County Board of Elections, according to Rich Schaffer, the chairman of the Suffolk County Democratic Committee. The primary election date is September 13.

The Suffolk County Democratic Committee as a whole will not pick a candidate to endorse in the race, Mr. Schaffer said, adding that individual Democratic Committee members can choose whether to throw their support behind Ms. Maertz or Ms. Fleming. The county committee is comprised of members of local town Democratic committees across the county.

“Jenn ran the last time,” Mr. Schaffer said on Monday. “Bridget is one of our elected officials. So I felt it was important for the individual committee people to make the decision on who they feel would be the strongest candidates.”

Mr. Schaffer spoke highly of both women, saying either would do a good job for the district, if elected.

“I think they’re two very strong candidates from two different parts of the district,” Mr. Schaffer said. “I think they both have a lot to offer as an opponent to Senator LaValle in the fall. And I think that either one would make an excellent state senator for the area.”

Drew Biondo, a spokesman for Mr. LaValle, said the senator had no comment. He confirmed that Mr. LaValle, who is 73, will seek reelection.

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Ms. Maertz, you hit the nail on the head. Ms. Fleming has no loyalty to Southampton, which isn't surprising seeing as she's from New York City.
By Wagoneer (28), Southampton on May 31, 12 10:38 AM
2 members liked this comment
Wrong, Wagoneer, Fleming moved here over 10 years ago & she's done more for Southampton in 10 years than most people have in a lifetime. Thing is, she can accomplish a whole lot more for Southampton and the East End in the state senate than she can on the town board. She'd make a good senator, might actually haave a shot at kicking some life into that nursing home.
By clam pie (161), Westhampton on May 31, 12 10:49 AM
Based on Bridget's performance as a Councilperson she has no chance of being elected to another office. Ken LaValle must be laughing this morning.
By EastEnd68 (888), Westhampton on May 31, 12 11:37 AM
2 members liked this comment
Fleming is the smartest person on the Southampton Town Board. She is on the right side of every issue and is a tireless worker. I can think of no one better suited to be our representative in the NYS Senate. This is good news.
By SHNative (554), Southampton on May 31, 12 12:29 PM
Didn't she just get elected a couple of months ago? And now she is already focusing on her next election. I don't think the people of Southampton will want to be a stepping stone for someones career.
By Yerko Enrique (1), Southampton on May 31, 12 2:29 PM
3 members liked this comment
LOL!!! Smartest on the Town Board! LOL What a badge of honor considering that crew!
By ICE (1214), Southampton on May 31, 12 2:54 PM
1 member liked this comment
You've got to be kidding? This is a joke, right?
By Tennyson (77), Quogue on Jun 1, 12 4:41 PM
Since when is "Primary" a verb?
By M. O'Connor (147), Southampton on May 31, 12 12:58 PM
4 members liked this comment
Ms Maertz, you are absolutely correct. You will definitely have my support in the primary race.
By peoplefirst (787), Southampton on May 31, 12 2:05 PM
1 member liked this comment
what a joke, i voted for her - never again. - she needs to learn how to be a councilperson first. - what a joke ...
By Kyle Timmons (5), Southampton on May 31, 12 2:17 PM
2 members liked this comment
I agree Bridget is the smartest on the board-its her performance which was/is bad
By EastEnd68 (888), Westhampton on May 31, 12 3:03 PM
It's not about "our kids" it's about her ego.
By nellie (451), sag harbor on May 31, 12 3:39 PM
Bridget,I voted for you for Town Council,but I would not vote for you again,you talk too much when the cameras are on,always the final word,learn to walk before you run.If Town Hall is not good enough for you RESEIGN you have lost your credabelity and my respect.
By Etians rd (543), Southampton on May 31, 12 7:24 PM
1 member liked this comment
... Bridget, you are confused. You only use the "it's about the kids" mantra when you are running for the school board, not the state senate.
By William Rodney (561), southampton on May 31, 12 7:32 PM
At least she doesn't do nail tips like her rival. The rest of you can keep fussing about her being too big for her britches, I'm voting for Bridget. Where do I sign?
By East End 2 (151), Southampton on May 31, 12 7:57 PM
maybe she can get plastic bags banned state wide!
By ridiculous (214), hampton bays on May 31, 12 8:35 PM
Didn't Nixon call Greenspan "a very smart person"?

I'm just sayin'...
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on May 31, 12 8:59 PM
1 member liked this comment
I'd prefer that people who run for local office actually base themselves in the office, and prove what they were worth voting for before they are jumping into the next arena. Just saying......what were your motives for getting elected....and what are your motives now?
By beachbar (4), Hampton Bays on May 31, 12 10:16 PM
And bf's campaign mgr would be .. ?
By Speonk Shores (31), Remsenburg on Jun 1, 12 10:10 AM
Fleming is not serious is she? Replace Ken LaValle? I think she should resign her town board seat to campaign so when she loses she is totally out of the picture and Southampton can move on with a little more smarts on the Board.
By factsandtruth (42), East Hampton on Jun 1, 12 10:15 AM
1 member liked this comment
Anyone who doesn't fulfill the term they were elected to serve, so as to run for yet another office, lacks the integrity so integral to truly serving the public while in public office.

That this office has a higher profile, pay rate and degree of power, I'm sure is of no incentive to a NYC Lawyer....
By ICE (1214), Southampton on Jun 1, 12 11:32 AM
ICE, I'd guess that 80 to 90% of the people in elected office right now, all across the country, ran for that position while they were holding another office. Your standard would eliminate all of those officeholders. You may think that would be a good thing. I don't. You know, when we set term limits on these people, we give them a powerful incentive to seek another office. Anyhow, moving up is the American way, right?
By Turkey Bridge (1979), Quiogue on Jun 1, 12 12:33 PM
Mr. Bridge, I agree most do run while holding another office.
What we must look at next is how much of their term they serve before bailing.
In Mrs. Fleming's case she was sworn in to her office in Jan. for a 4 year term. If she should win the primary and the Nov. election for the State Senate, she will have served a mere 25% of her commitment.

Last time I checked 25% was failing miserably.

Her desire to move forward in her political career is admirable and very American. ...more
By ICE (1214), Southampton on Jun 2, 12 5:34 PM
ICE, in over 730 of my comments on this site, you're the first to reply calling me "Mr. Bridge." Thank you. You probably know I've been called lots worse.

Thank you also for acknowledging that most of our officeholders have gone from one elected position to another, leaving an uncompleted term behind them.

You make a good point about the 25% in this case. I can't take anything away from it, but let me put down three other points beside it:

[1] Bridget Fleming has already ...more
By clam pie (161), Westhampton on Jun 3, 12 10:06 AM
Wait, what? Why would he call you Mr. Bridge if you are Clam Pie? How many other names do you have?
By lucky and aware (44), Speonk on Jun 3, 12 10:51 AM
"Mr. ICE" is how the above comment should have begun, in keeping with the very nice "Mr. Bridge" formulation. Also, the above comment should have been from me as Turkey Bridge. By mistake, it was signed "Clam Pie," which is another screen name that I use. Because most people know who Turkey Bridge is, and also know that he is politically active, there is a tendency to discount his opinions for that reason.

I believe this tendency is wrong. I believe that the fact of being politically ...more
By Turkey Bridge (1979), Quiogue on Jun 3, 12 10:54 AM
So George Lynch, having a rough morning, can't keep your aliases straight. Are you Turkey George or Clam Pie or are Turkey and Clam one and the same. Have any other nom de plume's here, George?

Your support of Bridget is admirable, of course you are a Town Democratic Committee committee person and officer.

But my question to you George, Turkey, Clam is how do you overcome Democratic Committee County Chairperson Schaffer's comments concerning the lack luster performance when the ...more
By NTiger (543), Southampton on Jun 3, 12 11:02 AM
1 member liked this comment
Love when you build strawman arguments George. But in reality your lack of credibility has little to do with your position as a committee person and officer of the Town Democratic Committee. I find it laughable to believe that you use clam pie for greater credibility. Under clam pie you have demeaned any number of contributors to this blog and how many times have you boosted your opinions as Turkey Bridge with a follow up agreeing by Clam Pie.

You've been caught red handed George.

By NTiger (543), Southampton on Jun 3, 12 11:50 AM
1 member liked this comment
To Turkey Bridge-accept the fact that you are stuck with LaValle for a few more years. Running Bridget is like running no competition.
By EastEnd68 (888), Westhampton on Jun 1, 12 12:52 PM
What important legislation has Bridget passed since sitting on the SH TB?
By reg rep (408), Southampton on Jun 1, 12 10:00 PM
What important legislation has Bridget passed since sitting on the SH TB?
By reg rep (408), Southampton on Jun 1, 12 10:01 PM
What has Bridget Fleming done on the town board? OK, here you go:

-- Brought jobs and safety with a law requiring removal of old utility poles.
-- Fought waterfront owners to keep beach acess for all.
-- Started the local Waterfront Revitalization Program to preserve our most valuable natural asset.
-- Brought work for teens and fresh food to Flanders with the Farm Fresh Food Market.
-- Stood for sound management of our money (for a change), supporting the Comptroller who ...more
By clam pie (161), Westhampton on Jun 3, 12 9:39 AM
Thank you clam-I had no idea that Bridget had accomplished all those things.
By EastEnd68 (888), Westhampton on Jun 3, 12 12:28 PM
EastEnd68 you might want to make an independent search as to the veracity of George Lynch's aka turkey bridge aka clam pie claims on behalf of Bridget Flemming. While I strongly supported her re-election to the Town Board last year, Mr. Lynch has some significant credibility problems (by his own admission). While Bridget has performed diligently, for the most part, Mr. Lynch (aka clam pie in this post) has a habit of never crediting the Republican or Conservative Board members. Obviously Ms. Flemming ...more
By NTiger (543), Southampton on Jun 3, 12 1:48 PM
I think NTiger took care of that response from ClamPie/George Lynch.
BTW she cannot and will not beat LaValle.
By reg rep (408), Southampton on Jun 4, 12 12:11 AM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By reg rep (408), Southampton on Jun 4, 12 12:12 AM
NTiger-yes the streak is still intact
By EastEnd68 (888), Westhampton on Jun 3, 12 2:30 PM
Oh so now she can worry about plastic shopping bags and farmers markets on a state level. good riddence
By GoldenBoy (351), EastEnd on Jun 3, 12 3:01 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By xtiego (698), bridgehampton on Jun 3, 12 6:10 PM
To the editor(s): Please not Bridget Fleming was elected to a four year term as Councilperson, not a two year term. See your second paragraph. The quote in the seventh paragraph by Ms. Maertz to a two year term most likely refers to the fact that in Brookhaven Town councilpersons are elected for two year terms. Her ignorance of the way things work in the east end Towns of the district is something she will have to explain, if, and, when she is called out on it.

Please correct your article.

By NTiger (543), Southampton on Jun 6, 12 1:17 PM
The article has been corrected to reflect that Ms. Fleming is serving a four-year term.
By Bill Sutton, Managing Editor (117), Westhampton Beach on Jun 6, 12 1:49 PM
From Turkey Bridge's comment as Clam Pie aka George Lynch
Now we can discount your opinion as clam pie too.
I guess you will have to create another screen name, your cover has been blown now every one knows your a jerk.
By reg rep (408), Southampton on Jun 6, 12 10:30 PM
It is actually worse than that Reg Rep, The little scam perpetrated by Mr. Lynch has the effect of calling into question the credibility of every blogger whose identify is disguised. How are we to know that if the blogger defends democrats and attacks republicans it is not George Lynch. Bad enough that a committee person and officer of a Town Political Committee publicly states because of his position he has no credibility. Only the 27 East Editors know or presumably have the ability to determine ...more
By NTiger (543), Southampton on Jun 6, 12 10:48 PM
1 member liked this comment
In this town, sometimes I feel as though I am indeed the only one defending Democrats, so maybe they are all me -- who knows?

Seriously, though, NTiger, you prove my point by your posts over the last eight months or so. When one's identity is known under a certain screen name like Turkey Bridge, one can come in for a lot of irrelevant personal abuse from people like you, though I admit there's no one quite like you for that stuff.

Who else besides you, for instance, would be ...more
By Turkey Bridge (1979), Quiogue on Jun 7, 12 3:30 PM
1 member liked this comment
Yes Turkey Clam George Lynch, Democratic Committee person and officer, who readily admits he has no credibility because of his party positions. The fact is George that if you took your own advice you would realize that if you judge ideas by what they are rather than where they come from you would have credibility regardless of what name(real or make believe) you use.

Your failing George is your posts are not credible because you see everything from only one perspective (which is certainly ...more
By NTiger (543), Southampton on Jun 7, 12 5:45 PM
1 member liked this comment