hamptons local events, express news group

Story - News

Nov 21, 2011 5:31 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Brad Bender Concedes Southampton Town Board Race To Christine Scalera

Nov 22, 2011 11:20 AM

A tight race for one of two Southampton Town Board seats—and ultimately for control of the board—came to an abrupt end on Monday when Independence Party member Brad Bender conceded to Republican opponent Christine Preston Scalera following a count of absentee ballots.

Ms. Scalera will replace Republican board member Nancy Graboski, who was prevented by term limits from seeking reelection to the board. Democrat Bridget Fleming also won reelection as the top vote-getter in the race.

The Board of Elections now will conduct a recanvassing of 3 percent of the ballots cast, comparing them with the numbers on Election Day. If there are no significant variations, the count will be finalized. If there are, a more complete recount would take place, officials said Tuesday.

With the election of Ms. Scalera, the Town Board will continue to be dominated by a Republican-Conservative majority, meaning Ms. Scalera, Republican Chris Nuzzi and Conservative Party member Jim Malone will decide key appointments and hirings in the coming year, and can shape the agenda of the board.

Mr. Bender conceded the race a few hours after Suffolk County Board of Elections officials finished counting hundreds of absentee ballots at about 3 p.m. A final official vote count hasn’t yet been confirmed by the Board of Elections, but Mr. Bender, who noted that he had observers present during the count, said he believes he lost by about 113 votes. That would place him third, behind Ms. Fleming and Ms. Scalera. Republican Bill Hughes finished fourth.

“We won’t be challenging [it],” Mr. Bender said. “It’s 113 votes. I had a team, a very competent team in there that counted the absentee ballots.”

Southampton Democratic Chairman Gordon Herr and Town GOP Chairman William Wright both agreed on the 113-vote margin between the two candidates.

Mr. Wright said Ms. Scalera will focus on a platform of lowering taxes and “governing in the right direction.”

“I think [her] biggest strength is she’s going to work tirelessly for the residents of the community on both party lines,” Mr. Wright said.

Mr. Herr said he believed that Independence Party Chairman Frank MacKay’s surprise endorsement of Ms. Scalera over Democratic Town Councilwoman Bridget Fleming this year actually hurt Mr. Bender, who also was on the Independence Party line. He also said that Mr. Bender was the stronger candidate during debates.

“I think that Brad ran an exceptional campaign, and I’m sure you won’t hear the last of him,” Mr. Herr said. “I’m sure he will run again.”

Ms. Scalera won the seat on Election Day by a narrow 85-vote margin over Mr. Bender. But a pending count of approximately 829 absentee ballots left the outcome of the race hanging for two weeks following the election.

On Monday, Ms. Scalera said she was going to spend that evening celebrating her victory with a “quiet dinner” with her husband, Frank, and their daughter, Kylie, at their Water Mill home.

“It’s been a long road,” Ms. Scalera said. “I feel great. I really do. I feel great—I’m excited. I’m honored at the prospects of representing residents of the community. I’m really pleased.”

She also congratulated Ms. Fleming and Ms. Throne-Holst on their reelections and wished Mr. Bender well. “I know that he worked very hard,” she said. “I’m certain he’s going to stay very active in his community, and I look forward to working with him in that regard.”

Ms. Scalera, a former Southampton Town deputy attorney who is currently a part-time assistant attorney at Brookhaven Town, said she was excited to get a feel for things once back at Town Hall. Although the Town Board post is technically a part-time position, she said she will fulfill her campaign promises of stepping down from her position at Brookhaven at the end of December. Once in office, she said one of the first things she’ll begin looking at is legislation to enact a debt service cap—which would cap the amount of money the town could borrow.

“I’m excited to work on all the things I said I wanted to work on in the campaign,” she said.

Town Councilman Chris Nuzzi said he believes Ms. Scalera’s experience in land use will serve the Town Board well. He also said he believed she would work well across party lines. He congratulated all the candidates, including Mr. Bender and Mr. Hughes, for running “hard-fought and spirited” campaigns. He also congratulated Ms. Fleming for running an “energetic” campaign.

1  |  2  >>  

You've read 1 of 7 free articles this month.

Already a subscriber? Sign in

Does the Scalera victory mean that the Republican controlled Board will give away more $150,000/year patronage jobs? Where do I apply? I'm a patron of the arts.

Does this also mean that Westhampton Dunes is going to have more property available for sale as a result of corrupt schemes concocted by slippery politicians and their supporters? Albany's not that far away, boys, neither is the NY State Attorney General's office and the Suffolk County Jail...just ask George Guldi.

Wake ...more
By Dodger (161), Southampton Village on Nov 21, 11 6:37 PM
Brad Bender is a class act, the Independence Party needs a gentleman like Mr Bender in the future board races. Good luck and hope to see you on the ballot again. He ran an honest and down to earth campaign with no mudslinging. The folks in FRN are fortunate to have Brad looking out for them. Keep it up Brad.
By 5 More to Go! (3), Riverhead on Nov 21, 11 7:59 PM
The election is over, but certain issues raised during this campaign remain. One of those issues concerns the Town's Ethics Code and fair campaign practices. Will the Supervisor and Town Board act on strengthening the Ethics Code and fair campaign practices or will those issues now be swept under the carpet? If all politics is local politics then perhaps this is the place and the time to promulgate an strong Ethics Code with true enforcement powers and work on compelling all candidates and political ...more
By NTiger (543), Southampton on Nov 21, 11 8:19 PM
1 member liked this comment
Guess I missed the bios of the candidates. Good luck to all. Ntiger has a good point but I wonder, will it happen? Like so many people I am sick of the mud slinging; all that to get such a low paying job!!!!
By summertime (589), summerfield fl on Nov 21, 11 8:41 PM
Brad Bender, who lived many years ago in Springs, is a class act. A real nice guy. Hope he runs again.
By bailey (52), East Hampton on Nov 21, 11 9:59 PM
By EastEnd68 (888), Westhampton on Nov 22, 11 6:52 AM
I hope Christine will think and be Independant for the sake of Southampton. Carol. East Quogue
By Carol (109), East Quogue on Nov 22, 11 8:15 AM
1 member liked this comment
FRN, Flanders, Riverside and Northampton
By Brad (28), Northampton on Nov 22, 11 11:02 AM
Brad Bender was the hardest working candidate I have ever seen. Just the kind of work ethic we need in Town Hall. Hope he runs again!!! Maybe the next time the voters will realize his potential.
By baywoman (165), southampton on Nov 22, 11 11:42 PM

Brad, people know how hard you worked the last year and a half and many really feel for you. Unfortunately, you made an unfortunate tactical decision in aligning yourself closely with Anna hoping to benefit from her coattails. You didn't realize she has none!

Two years ago, aided especially by a phony PBA conspiracy to arrest Linda Kabot, jailing her overnight and the ensuing horrific public scandal ( but thrown out so fast by the jury like a month old stinking fish), Anna won going ...more
By Obbservant (449), southampton on Nov 23, 11 12:23 AM
1 member liked this comment
Obbservant, while I personally disagree with much of your post, rather then respond to a heavily biased post with what someone else will undoubtedly call a biased response, I will simply ask your opinion on a few topics:

1) Do you not believe it is at all possible that the somewhat unheard of Brad actually benefitted from being associated with the incumbent supervisor, especially considering that he lost by such a small margin despite no previous experience in public office?

2) ...more
By SayWhat (14), Southampton on Nov 23, 11 1:19 PM
Hey, observant, in case you did not notice, ATH won and by a huge margin so he benefited from that alliance. "Observant"? HAH!
By razza5351 (551), East Hampton on Nov 23, 11 2:02 PM

Say What, I do admire your always reflexive defense of Her Royal Highness like Pavlov's dog on cue but only two of your points are worth commenting on:

1)Placing Royalty's name in context of "Team" is an oxymoron. A team player would not sacrifice a supposed ally who defends her more than she defends herself (abstention on last year's budget and this year's Police deal while she left Bridget high and dry as the only one to hold her ground - ridiculous political move). To throw Bridget ...more
By Obbservant (449), southampton on Nov 23, 11 3:46 PM
I apologize, these things always end up longer than I intended.
By SayWhat (14), Southampton on Nov 23, 11 1:20 PM
Keep in mind that being independent doesn't require rolling over for the democrats.
By Walt (292), Southampton on Nov 23, 11 1:47 PM
Congratulations to Christine Scalera for a strong race that ended sucessfully, and also to Brad Bender for a strong race that showed a community leader can have a powerful influence. Here's hoping Ms. Scalera fulfills her promise of independent thinking, and that Mr. Bender fulfills his of continued beneficial involvement.
By Turkey Bridge (1979), Quiogue on Nov 23, 11 3:08 PM
There have been a few comments about how Brad Bender was an unknown but almost got 2nd place. Isn't Christine Preston equally as unknown? I would argue she is even LESS recgonizable than Bender as her only previous Southampton Experience was working as a Deputy Attorney whereas Mr. Bender was the head of FRNCA. Everyone (or at least anyone who cares to know) in Flanders/Riverside/Northampton knows who he is. Outside of Town Hall were there any groups of people who knew of Christine? Brad should ...more
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Nov 23, 11 3:12 PM
D, WF, Incumbent vs R, C, I, vs D, I, vs R, C. It's just Poli Sci 101 and the tail wagging the dog. And the party bosses sit back and laugh at us all.
By But I'm a blank! (1283), Hampton Bays on Nov 23, 11 5:01 PM
Ditto to all the favorable comments on Brad Bender above. Good man. the Independence Party doesn't deserve him. Bender should realize he'll do better as a Dem than he will serving the the power agenda of of an up-island boss who doesn't have any platform outside of wheeling and dealing, and doesn't know or care about Southampton issues. Bender's problem isn't ATH, it's Frank McKay.
By clam pie (161), Westhampton on Nov 26, 11 11:13 AM
Glad to see your getting some Democratic religion there Clam Pie. Dems should run Dems. Dems shouldn't pretend to be Indies to insure a line that isn't needed to win. Now when will you climb on board the time for a real ethics code and fair campaign practices in Southampton Town bandwagon?
By NTiger (543), Southampton on Nov 27, 11 6:50 PM
Its wishful thinking that Christine will be an independent thinker. Voying party lines will never be stronger.
By EastEnd68 (888), Westhampton on Nov 28, 11 12:34 PM