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Jun 14, 2013 10:43 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Southampton Town Independence Party Hands Out Endorsements

Jun 19, 2013 10:48 AM
The Southampton Town Independence and Conservative parties threw their weight behind slates of candidates last week that will bolster the chances of some to get elected this fall, and leave others—including some incumbents who have enjoyed their support in the past—with just one line on the November ballot.

And as much as each party’s selections sends ripples through the newborn campaign, the failure by both major parties to offer endorsements for some positions has left candidates and political operators clawing for any advantage.

Perhaps most momentous, even if not entirely shocking, was the Conservative Party’s failure to endorse a candidate for town supervisor this year. The race pitting Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst, on the Democratic line, against her predecessor, Linda Kabot, on the GOP line, is likely to be a tight one—and the “other” party endorsements could play a key role.

Ms. Throne-Holst is a registered Independence Party member and, as expected, got her party’s nomination to go with her endorsement by the town Democrats. Ms. Kabot has the Republican Party line, but the failure of the Conservatives to back her up puts her at a disadvantage. In 2009, Ms. Throne-Holst unseated Ms. Kabot by some 1,900 votes, more than 1,100 of them coming from the Independence Party line.

And while the Conservative Party has largely been a supporter of Republican candidates throughout most recent political history, it has not supported Ms. Kabot since she ran for Town Board in 2005. In 2007, when she mounted a Republican Party primary election against former Supervisor Patrick Heaney, who was running for his last eligible term as supervisor, and ousted him from the party line, the Conservatives put him on the ballot on their line.

In 2009, her first reelection campaign, the party offered no supervisor endorsement, despite endorsing Ms. Kabot’s Republican running mates, Town Councilmen Chris Nuzzi and Jim Malone, who both won their races with close to 1,000 votes on the Conservative line.

Mr. Malone, who is not seeking reelection to a second term this year, is the town’s Conservative Party leader. He said the decision not to endorse a supervisor candidate this election isn’t set in stone, explaining that there is still time before the July deadline for candidates to submit ballot petitions. The Conservative Party’s relatively small registration numbers means a late-comer could gather the requisite signatures in just a couple of days.

For the Town Board race, the Independence Party executive committee and Suffolk County Chairman Frank McKay endorsed another of their own, Brad Bender, who has been cross-endorsed by Democrats, and current Deputy Supervisor Frank Zappone, a Democrat, for the second Town Board seat on the ballot. The Conservatives, meanwhile, endorsed Republican candidates Jeff Mansfield and Stan Glinka, both political newcomers.

The Independence Party also endorsed Suffolk County Legislator Jay Schneiderman, a registered party member, who is being challenged by Mr. Nuzzi for this seat on the legislature. Mr. Nuzzi, who cannot seek reelection to the Town Board due to term limits, received the Conservative Party’s endorsement.

Town Clerk Sundy Schermeyer, who is a Republican but unchallenged in her reelection bid, received nominations from both the Independence and Conservative parties. Town Highway Superintendent Alex Gregor, who is a registered Independence Party member and cross-endorsed by the Democrats, also secured his party’s nomination, while his challenger, David Betts, got the Conservative nod.

Perhaps the races most stirred by the smaller party nominations are those for the five open seats on the Southampton Town Board of Trustees, where a few hundred votes typically separate those who earn a seat and those who do not.

The Independence Party endorsed just four candidates for the five Trustees seats on the ballot, passing over two longtime incumbents: Ed Warner Jr., a Republican, and Fred Havemeyer, a Democrat. The party endorsed two incumbent Trustees—Bill Pell, a registered Independence Party member, and Eric Shultz, a Democrat. Democratic candidate Howard Pickerell and Republican candidate Scott Horowitz secured the Independence Party’s other nominations.

Southampton Town Independence Party Chairman Fred W. Thiele Jr., who is also a state assemblyman, said the party’s five-member executive committee—made up of the party’s four elected office-holders and Tom Schiavoni—could not reach a consensus on whom to endorse for the fifth Town Trustees seat and chose to put off the decision. He said the party could make that endorsement at a later date.

“There’s still discussions going on, so we may still fill that fifth Trustees slot,” said Mr. Thiele, who took over as the local Independence Party chairman earlier this spring. “Until we’re able to build a larger committee, which is something I want to do, we decided to do it in a consensus fashion.”

Mr. Pell, Mr. Shultz and Mr. Horowitz also received the Conservative Party endorsements, as did Mr. Warner and Republican candidate Cornelius Kelly.

Mr. Havemeyer declined to comment on the Independence Party’s decision not to offer him its nomination as it had in 2011. Mr. Warner, who was endorsed by both the Independence and Conservative parties in 2007, 2009 and 2011, said he was surprised at the decision of Independence Party members to shun two incumbents. He said he felt the decision was not personal but a product of political machinations that he pays little attention.

“I don’t understand how the politics work,” Mr. Warner said. “When I’m elected, I got to Town Hall, and I serve the people and I try to do a good job ... and, hopefully, the people reelect me.”

The Independence Party, meanwhile, plans to actively campaign for its candidates over the next four months, showing that its influence extends beyond simply endorsing one candidate over another.

“We’re going to run a campaign for our candidates,” said Mr. Thiele, who served two terms as town supervisor in the early 1990s after forming his own third party, the Southampton Party, to counter the major parties in local politics. “It’s not going to be one of those things where we give them endorsements and then let the major parties dictate their campaign. We’re going to be aggressive.”

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> "Mr. Havemeyer is a Democrat."

Did I miss something, or is Michael Wright just being sloppy again?
By Frank Wheeler (1826), Northampton on Jun 15, 13 9:40 AM
You missed something. Havemeyer is a democrat who has been masquerading as a republican for years because that was the way to get reelected to an all Rep board. Last election Fred got nervous and sought the dem endorsement as well as rep.
Now that the board has diversified, and the rep have shunned him, Fickle Fred has emerged from his republican cocoon like a dusty old moth and flitted back to his comfortable perch among the stuffy folds of the democratic suit; where he basks in the ...more
By CaptainSig (716), Dutch Harbor on Jun 16, 13 6:45 AM
1 member liked this comment
Show me a trustee who works HALF as hard as Havermeyer... It's not surprise that Fred has plenty of $$$ but that doesn't stop him from working his butt off in Town Hall nearly every day to protect the rights of the citizens of the Town. It would be easy for him to never run again and sit back enjoying his peeled shrimp at the beach - but he would much rather make sure my rights and your rights aren't being eroded like the beach
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Jun 17, 13 9:36 AM
Always something nice to say about everyone, right Sig? However you hit the nail on the head with your "the sewer that is the Republican Party" comment. Would you be referring to its local leadership? Or, might you be among them?
By goldenrod (505), southampton on Jun 16, 13 9:28 PM
Captain Sig is attempting a bit of magic here, transforming the Dems into the party of peeled shrimp at the Meadow Club and the GOP into the party of the "common people." It's really the other way around, as it always has been. Just look at who earns how much and who voted which way in every election since there's been a Republican Party.

Mr. Wheeler has indeed missed something if he doesn't know that Fred Havemeyer and Eric Schultz changed their registration to Democratic after the last ...more
By Turkey Bridge (1979), Quiogue on Jun 17, 13 8:52 AM
2 members liked this comment
Sorry, submitted the above before finishing (or proofreading). ------- Meant to add that the result of all this is no Independence Party endorsement for either Fred Havemeyer or John Bouvier. The disguised pro-development "interests" want a nice, tame Board of Trustees that will grant all their applications and let them make piles of money shoring up the overblown, overbuilt oceanfront mansions of the plutocrats who don't give a fig what their "protection" measures do to the rest of the beach. ...more
By Turkey Bridge (1979), Quiogue on Jun 17, 13 9:05 AM
1 member liked this comment
Trustee Havemeyer has been a knowledgable critic of hardening the shoreline, and the only Town official to express dismay over specific projects, notably the recent steel bulkhead at Little Plains Road in Southampton Village. The state DEC has done nothing to challenge the legality of that project, which in theory hinged on rebuilding a pre-existing bulkhead damaged by Sandy. Poppycock. Mayor Epley has stated that he saw photos of that earlier bulkhead, but the photos have not been made public. ...more
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Jun 17, 13 9:17 AM
1 member liked this comment
When will the Dems stop endorsing the indies? Hopefully Queen ATH will be looking elsewhere for employment in November.
By bobypines (7), southampton on Jun 17, 13 5:01 PM
It is always a great tactic to name call and tease and expect results and respect in return. Bravo. Hail to the King!
By iendeduphere (2), Southampton on Jun 17, 13 11:11 PM
I did not intend to denigrate Mr Havemeyers accomplishments; merely to point out that he is, above all, a POLITICIAN, and a chameleon who will change political parties as easily as he changes his overcoat, if it will get him re-elected. Perhaps he can solicit the endorsement of the "Rent is Too Damn High" party as well? Gotta be worth a few votes. Or is it the "Pants Are Too Damn Low" party? Whatever
By CaptainSig (716), Dutch Harbor on Jun 21, 13 10:46 AM
Somehow, Cap, I don't think you'd be beating up on Fred Havemeyer if his change had been in the opposite direction, Dem to GOP.

That aside, check out Michael Wright's 11/30/11 story on 27east, "New Brand Of Politics In The Future For Southampton Trustees," to see what really happened back there. Fred Havemeyer and Eric Schultz didn't switch parties in the first instance, they just accepted the Democrats' endorsement, and for that alone, the Southampton Republicans cast them into outer ...more
By Turkey Bridge (1979), Quiogue on Jun 24, 13 11:14 AM
Somehow, Turkey, yes I would. I vote for whoever I think the best candidate is -last town election was split 50-50 between dems and repubs. I disdain "career politicians" who do or say anything to continue in office. How about stating your position, beliefs and goals- and sticking with it. If the people like what they hear they will vote you in- if not they wont. And yes, I do miss Ronald Reagan for this very reason
By CaptainSig (716), Dutch Harbor on Jun 25, 13 6:35 AM
1 member liked this comment