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Jul 24, 2018 5:50 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Fraud And Loathing On The Campaign Trail In East Hampton

Republican Party Chairman Amos Goodman has drawn the ire of Independence Party Chairwoman Elaine Jones for trying to wrest away the Independence line for GOP candidate Manny Vilar.
Jul 24, 2018 5:50 PM

A skirmish over a minor third-party line on this fall’s special East Hampton Town election has erupted into an ugly political and legal battle between two local party leaders.

East Hampton Town Independence Party Chairwoman Elaine Jones this week blasted the town Republican Party for attempting to hijack her party’s line using a Trojan horse candidate who never intended to run; of trying to blackmail her into setting up a primary for the line; and, failing that, of now trying to have the party line essentially dropped from the November ballot altogether.

In turn, Republican Party chairman Amos Goodman said that in addition to challenges to the petitions submitted nominating Democrat David Gruber to be on the Independence line, his party will also be filing legal challenges in state court on Wednesday seeking to have the Independence petitions dismissed as fraudulent.

“My investigator has already gotten a stack of affidavits from people listed on the petitions stating that they did not in fact sign,” Mr. Goodman said in an email on Tuesday. “By my estimate, there are dozens of signatures that are forged, and I expect a judge to find that loud and clear.”

The skirmish over the Independence line began when petitions were submitted to the Suffolk County Board of Elections nominating Lisa Mulhern Larsen to run in a primary against David Gruber, who had been nominated by Ms. Jones and other leaders of the town Independence Party.

But Ms. Jones said that Ms. Larsen never intended to run for the seat and that the petitions nominating her had in fact been circulated by members of the Republican Party. Mr. Goodman confirmed that Michael Jordan, a Republican committeeman, had acted as a notary in collecting some of the signatures on Ms. Larsen’s petitions.

Ms. Larsen, who was the Republican Party’s nominee for a Town Board seat in 2015, officially declined the nomination last week and Ms. Jones said she was almost immediately contacted by Mr. Goodman demanding that she solicit the Independence Party’s founder and state chairman, Frank McKay, to give the Republican candidate, Manny Vilar, authorization to run in the Independence primary against Mr. Gruber in Ms. Larsen’s place. If she refused, she recalled, they said they would challenge the validity of Mr. Gruber’s nomination and get him bounced from the ballot line as well.

“He said to me, if I got them the [authorization from McKay] they would drop their challenges,” Ms. Jones said. “Well, I told them what they could do with that. Whatever they do, Manny Vilar will not get [authorization]. If they throw out my petitions there will be a blank slate. Amos Goodman will get nothing out of it.

County Board of Elections officials confirmed that challenges to more than half of the signatures filed for Mr. Gruber have been challenged, by Ms. Larsen’s husband, Gerard Larsen, who also ran unsuccessfully for Town Board on the Republican line, last fall.

“I don’t like that they are using the Independence Party like this and I don’t know why Lisa Larsen let them use her like this,” Ms. Jones said. “Lies and blackmail. I know politics is ugly business, but I’ve never seen anything like this. It’s crazy.”

Ms. Larsen did not return calls seeking comment.

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"Area Woman Lashes Out Following Exposure of Election Fraud Scheme."
By SpringsBub (11), Springs on Jul 24, 18 11:27 PM
1 member liked this comment
Let's face it, Republcan politics is always about dirty tricks, voter suppression, gerrymandering and the like. It's the only way they cn win nationally and I suppose it's no different locally. Vote Democratic in November and impeach Trump!
By Moni (12), Est Hampton on Jul 27, 18 11:02 AM
1 member liked this comment
By Girlfrommtk (3), East Hampton on Jul 29, 18 8:14 PM
Moni-your comments do not reflect the article. Maybe you should read it again.
By Girlfrommtk (3), East Hampton on Jul 29, 18 8:16 PM