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Nov 11, 2014 4:12 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Potential Congressional Candidates Line Up Following Bishop's Defeat

Nov 11, 2014 6:22 PM

U.S. Representative Tim Bishop’s defeat in last week’s midterm election stands to ease gridlock in the East End’s Democratic hierarchy that has been in place for the past decade, with lawmakers at the town, county and state level all having a new chance at upward mobility.

A handful of left-leaning elected officials on the South Fork might now have an opportunity to try to make a jump to Washington, D.C., when Congressman-elect Lee Zeldin’s first term ends in 2016.

Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst, an Independence Party member who is in her third two-year term of office, is often named as a potential Democratic nominee for the 1st Congressional District, which spans the entire East End and goes as far west as Smithtown, though she said this week that she has not even contemplated the idea. She can seek reelection as town supervisor just once more due to term limits.

“I’m thinking to the year ahead, about running for the next term—granted, it’s my last for supervisor—but that’s as far as my thinking has gone,” Ms. Throne-Holst said on Monday.

In the meantime, she added, she expects to work alongside Mr. Zeldin once he takes office in January. “Party stripe is of no importance to me,” said Ms. Throne-Holst, who has traditionally been cross-endorsed by the Democratic Party. “It’s about getting the job done and done right. Working with Mr. Zeldin will be no exception.”

Local politicians and party leaders also have pointed to Southampton Town Councilwoman Bridget Fleming, a registered Democrat, as another potential candidate to challenge Mr. Zeldin. A lawyer and Noyac resident, Ms. Fleming was elected to the Town Board in March 2010 to fill a vacancy created when then-Councilwoman Throne-Holst took office after defeating then-Supervisor Linda Kabot in 2009. Ms. Fleming also ran against State Senator Kenneth LaValle on the Democratic line in 2012.

Because she served only the final 18 months of Ms. Throne-Holst’s term, Ms. Fleming will be eligible to run for a second four-year term on the Town Board next year, though she said this week that she hasn’t decided if she wants to take that route. “My family and I haven’t made any decisions yet about what our next step will be,” Ms. Fleming said this week, declining to comment further.

Two long-serving East End elected officials, State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr. and Suffolk County Legislator Jay Schneiderman, also have supervisory experience on their respective resumes. Mr. Thiele held the supervisor’s office in Southampton Town from 1993 until 1995, while Mr. Schneiderman did the same in East Hampton Town from 2000 until 2004.

As with Ms. Throne-Holst, both Mr. Thiele and Mr. Schneiderman—the latter of whom cannot seek reelection once his current term expires in December 2015 due to term limits—are now registered Independence Party members, a label that could make it difficult for them to secure a Democratic nomination in 2016. Both are also former members of the Republican Party.

“I can’t speak for anyone else, but I would have a hard time supporting anyone who isn’t a registered Democrat,” former Southampton Town Democratic Committee Chair Mike Anthony said last week.

While Mr. Schneiderman, who switched parties in 2008, said he recognizes the importance of being backed by one of the two major parties, he said he has no intention of switching his party registration again.

A hotel owner and former high school science teacher from Montauk, Mr. Schneiderman has represented the South Fork in Hauppauge since 2004. He said he would like to stay in elected office if possible and that he’s leaving his options open, although he acknowledged that he’s always had an eye on Congress.

Before committing to making a run, Mr. Schneiderman said he’d like to see how Mr. Zeldin does in his first term and get a better sense for the political landscape leading up to the 2016 election.

Since Mr. Bishop’s defeat last week, Mr. Schneiderman said he has received several calls from people asking if he plans to run, adding that it would be beneficial to have a full year between the end of his final term in county office and the next congressional race.

“It is that kind of race where you need a good year to campaign,” he said. “I’m flattered that people are considering me as a congressional candidate. It’s always been a dream of mine to one day get to Congress. Whether 2016 is the right time for me to run remains to be seen.”

Likewise, Mr. Thiele has not made a decision on whether to run for Congress, but said it’s certainly a possibility. “I wouldn’t rule it in, but I wouldn’t rule it out,” he said. “Two years is a long time. Each two years, I look at what my options are, either in Assembly or in another office. In the next year, I’ll go through the same process and, certainly, the congressional seat would be something I would look at.”

Mr. Thiele, who has served 19 years in Albany, said he’s “perfectly happy” in his current position and that he’ll enjoy the next two years in the State Assembly.

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... ridiculous article. Who do you have lined up for 2018? House of Rep terms should be four years to stop the 24/7 365/year campaigns.
By William Rodney (561), southampton on Nov 14, 14 9:08 AM
1 member liked this comment
this is the stupidest article I have e
ver read in my life!
By jeffscan (19), sh on Nov 14, 14 9:42 AM
Who's running in 2020?
By nazznazz (276), east hampton on Nov 14, 14 12:04 PM
Mike Anthony is correct, is the members of the Independence Party are interested in running for Congress they can do so on the Independence Ballot line, the one just above the Women's Equality Party.

The Democratic Line for Congress should be bestowed upon a true Democrat.

It's time the local Democratic leadership understood why they need to run Democrats and not Independence Party members for local office.

By NTiger (543), Southampton on Nov 14, 14 1:03 PM
We need a third party candidate as its always been the same old same old. It would be nice if the Independence party ran a strong campaign with someone. We need choices of clear thinkers for the people not party line voters.
By North Sea Citizen (568), North Sea on Nov 15, 14 6:54 AM
East Enders who will vote Democrat in 2018 are exactly the voters Gruber described in his many speeches.
By kpjc (161), east quogue on Nov 15, 14 7:42 AM
Agree with Mike Anthony. Should be a Dem. Maybe Tim Bishop. He wouldn't be the first to come back after a loss and re-take his office.
By Turkey Bridge (1979), Quiogue on Nov 15, 14 1:35 PM
Yes, this is a fatuous article, but there's also a certain arrogance to it -- the assumption by the Southampton Press that Bishop's defeat was an anomaly, and that Zeldin will be a one-termer on The Hill.

And of course, our resident die-hard Democrat, T. Bridge, is already pipe-dreaming of the good ol' days when T. Bishop was in safely ensconced the office.
By Frank Wheeler (1826), Northampton on Nov 15, 14 2:07 PM
1 member liked this comment
Otis Pike was there forever going back to when the District went into Nassau County. None since him has lasted any longer than Bishop and none who lost ever successfully sought the seat back.

Carney, Hochbrueckner, Forbes, Grucci, Bishop.

Forbes won as a Republican, switched to Dem and lost for reelection.

Grucci lost to Bishop due to one of the few miscalculations of Howard DiMartini's illustrated career in Suffolk County politics - Bishop came in on a wave of backlash ...more
By NTiger (543), Southampton on Nov 15, 14 3:32 PM
Note to Shaye Weaver

You might want to add Regina Calcaterra to your list of possibilities.

That would be a story worth pursuing.

And the bonus is she is a Democrat with an impressive life story both personal and professional.

Impressive enough that when she sought to run against Ken LaValle his allies managed to have her tossed from the ballot due to a break in the residency requirement to run for State Senate.

So you might want to take a look at how ...more
By NTiger (543), Southampton on Nov 15, 14 4:20 PM
NTiger, when I mentioned the possibility of Tim Bishop's re-taking his seat and suggested it wouldn't be the first time, I was thinking of history a little beyond the boundaries of the 1st Congressional District of NY.

Think Winston Churchill, Bill Clinton and Grover Cleveland, for instance. And don't do a Lloyd Bentsen on me and say Tim Bishop is no Winston Churchill. I know that, but these cases I note are just the well-known ones involving high office. I'm sure there are many similar ...more
By Turkey Bridge (1979), Quiogue on Nov 16, 14 2:59 PM
As for the Congressional District question. Fairly simple, while the number of CD's in New York has been on a steady decline, the population of the 2 Forks, Brookhaven and Suffolk County as a whole has caused the population line for a Congressional District to move eastward. If memory serves me correctly the Pike district extended westward to Nassau until after the 1960 Census.

It was the tremendous growth burst in Suffolk County even while our parts of the State were losing population ...more
By NTiger (543), Southampton on Nov 16, 14 9:27 PM
Demokrat policies do not represent the East End, most of us here work for a living!
By bigfresh (4666), north sea on Nov 17, 14 8:45 AM
1 member liked this comment
Another thoughtful observation from bigfresh. Thanks for helping us all sort this out, bigfresh.

NTiger, thanks for informative answers on CD and Calcaterra challenge. Re Calcaterra funding, I am familiar with her background. Still, I don't understand why she'd have any more access to money than any of those mentioned in this article. Fred Thiele, for instance -- wouldn't he have pretty much the same level of access?
By Turkey Bridge (1979), Quiogue on Nov 17, 14 10:07 AM
1 member liked this comment
George take a look at Fred's financial filings. And his status as member of Indy Party isn't gonna excite the DCCC.

Look at Calcaterra's connections to the Governor and the Women's Movement. As I recall she was putting together a pretty good war chest to battle LaValle also.

Unlike Southampton Dem chapter of the Independence Party, Calcaterra has true Dem bona fides. And thanks to her life story she has had national exposure. A best selling author has a l

Also with regard ...more
By NTiger (543), Southampton on Nov 17, 14 12:20 PM
Very interesting. Thanks again.
By Turkey Bridge (1979), Quiogue on Nov 17, 14 3:48 PM
Let's dust this off...

Warren Buffett: "I could end the deficit in 5 minutes," he told CNBC. "You just pass a law that says that anytime there is a deficit of more than 3% of GDP, all sitting members of Congress are ineligible for re-election. The 26th amendment (granting the right to vote for 18 year-olds) took only 3 months & 8 days to be ratified! Why? Simple! The people demanded it. That was in 1971...before computers, e-mail, cell phones, etc. Of the 27 amendments to the Constitution, ...more
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Nov 19, 14 1:06 AM
2 members liked this comment