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Sep 13, 2018 9:31 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

UPDATE: Lys Tops Gruber In Democratic Primary; 'Reform Democrats' Rebuffed At Polls

David Lys and other candidates supported by the Democratic Party leadership won primary elections over an upstart faction calling itself the Reform Democrats. Michael Wright Michael Wright
Sep 14, 2018 7:25 AM

UPDATE: Thursday, 11:30 p.m.

Democratic voters in East Hampton largely rebuffed an upstart faction within their party on Thursday night, handing victories to Councilman David Lys and most of the candidates for the East Hampton Town Democratic Committee supported by the party leadership.

Mr. Lys won the right to be the party's nominee for the lone Town Board seat on the November ballot, over David Gruber, who had been supported by a group of committee members calling themselves the Reform Democrats that had been harshly critical of the party leadership and the current all-Democratic Town Board.

Mr. Lys received 1,489 votes, or about about 63 percent of the votes cast on Thursday night, to Mr. Gruber's 884 votes.

The Suffolk County Board of Elections has also received more than 350 absentee ballots for the primary, with several hundred more still outstanding, but the ballots are unlikely to affect the outcome of the Town Board primary.

The Reform Democrats also fell far short of their goal to wrest control of the party's committee away from a small clique of longtime party leaders and campaign strategists. The committee candidates the group had supported won just five of the 38 committee seats. Both of the Reform Democrats' leaders, Rona Kopman and Illissa Meyer, lost their bids for re-election to the committee.

Mr. Lys will now face Manny Vilar in November for the right to hold his seat on the Town Board for another year. The winner will have to run again next year to earn a full four-year term on the board. Mr. Lys, who state election law dictates must remain a registered Republican until after the November vote, was appointed to the board in January.

On Thursday night, he said his sights are now set on anchoring the Democratic stranglehold on the board.

"Now we need to protect the progress the current Democratic board initiated," he said, and nodded to the need to repair the deep divisions within his newly adopted party that were stirred in the last six months. "With time, all rivalries will melt away. We will unite together as one Democratic committee."


Registered Democrats took to the polls on Thursday to vote in a number of primary races, including a special election in East Hampton Town that has roiled the local party.

Polls in both East Hampton and Southampton towns were open to cast ballots in state primaries for governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general, as well as a Surrogate Court judgeship.

In East Hampton Town, Democrats were asked to choose between two candidates—David Lys and David Gruber—for a single seat on the Town Board. The winner will face Republican Manny Vilar for the right to hold the seat for just one year, completing the term of now-Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc.

East Hampton voters are also being asked to choose two representatives on the party’s county committee for their respective election districts—possibly the first time such seats have ever been so widely contested.

Polls close at 9 p.m.

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Will 27east please do an article on Gruber removing all the signs that litter our town? Or better yet maybe David can do it, great photo op of him throwing Gruber signs where they belong; into the garbage.
By Preliator Lives (437), Obamavillie on Sep 14, 18 8:01 AM
Gruber signs out...Villar signs in. Just a mess of litter.
By harbor (415), East Hampton on Sep 14, 18 8:12 AM
1 member liked this comment
Well at least Lys will have less clean up to do after Gruber's minions ran around tearing down all of Lys' signs and putting up Gruber's signs in their place last week.
By localEH (427), East Hampton on Sep 14, 18 12:23 PM