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Nov 11, 2009 3:11 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Parties eye vacant Southampton Town Board seat in 2010

Nov 11, 2009 3:11 PM

The Southampton Town Democratic and Republican parties this week began gearing up for another election battle—over what will be a vacant seat on the Town Board next year.

The seat, currently occupied by Anna Throne-Holst, will be vacated when Ms. Throne-Holst assumes the job of supervisor on January 1. Ms. Throne-Holst, who ran on the Democratic Party ticket but is not registered with a political party, defeated Republican Supervisor Linda Kabot in the November 3 election.

A special election must be held 60 to 90 days after an elected seat is declared vacant, as required by a ballot referendum that was approved by two-thirds of town voters on November 3. That means the election for the vacant seat should be held sometime in March.

Democrats seem poised to enter a candidate into the race before the Republican Party does. Southampton Democratic Committee Chairman Gordon Herr said the party might select a candidate as early as this week. “Time goes quickly,” he said. “Things need to get done, people need to prepare the campaign.”

Meanwhile, Republican Committee Chairman Ernest Wruck said party leaders expect to begin formal interviews in the coming weeks, but possibly as late as January. Mr. Wruck said he has not had formal or even informal talks with other party leaders about possible candidates and said he welcomes anyone with interest in the seat to interview with the party’s screening committee.

Asked if the party is waiting for Democrats to select a candidate before making their own selection, Mr. Wruck said the Democrats’ decision will not influence who the Republicans choose as a nominee. “We will be watching with great interest, but ultimately we will pick whoever is the best qualified candidate,” he said. “I have not made a commitment to anyone.”

Party leaders and politicians were mum on who might run for the soon-to-be vacant seat. Mr. Wruck said he expects that Democrats would run Bridget Fleming—a Sag Harbor lawyer who, along with her running mate, incumbent Councilwoman Sally Pope, lost to Republican councilman-elect Jim Malone and Councilman Christopher Nuzzi earlier this month—but he declined to name any possible Republican candidates.

Mr. Herr said his party would consider candidates other than Ms. Fleming and Ms. Pope.

Nonetheless, Ms. Pope confirmed on Friday that she will not run for office after her term expires in January, apparently leaving the door open for Ms. Fleming to run for the seat.

“I made up my mind—I’m throwing away my lawn signs,” Ms. Pope said. “I hope Bridget Fleming decides to run.”

Ms. Fleming on Friday expressed interest in taking a second shot but stopped short of declaring any definitive plans.

“Right now I’m on vacation with my family, focusing on them, reconnecting,” Ms. Fleming said. “I’m very honored that many people I respect have asked me to consider [running]. I’m not ruling anything out.”

At least one Republican expressed an interest in running for the seat.

Republican Daniel Russo, a former Town Board member, said he is considering screening before the Southampton Town Republican Committee. Mr. Russo, who served briefly after being appointed to fill the vacancy created by Ms. Kabot’s move to the supervisor’s chair, was narrowly defeated by Ms. Pope when he sought election in 2008.

“I would certainly be interested,” Mr. Russo said. “I very may well screen for that position.”

However, other current and former elected officials were less outspoken.

Republican Supervisor Linda Kabot, who was defeated by Ms. Throne-Holst, declined to comment on whether she will try a run for the vacant seat. “Mum is the word,” Ms. Kabot said.

Another former Town Board member, Jim Drew, a registered Conservative Party member, was also defeated in his bid for a board seat in 2007, said he would consider running, except that no one from the Republican Party has asked him to.

With only a few months before the special election, Mr. Drew said, it would be difficult for a third-party candidate to wage a successful campaign.

“You’d have to assemble a campaign within two to three months. You’d have to have the organizations’s support,” Mr. Drew said. “You couldn’t go out and freelance it yourself.”

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Run Linda Run!
By diogenes (57), westhampton on Nov 10, 09 4:33 PM
Don't you people get it? New blood, new faces are warranted .. a has-been like Kabot, Pope or even Fleming (who was defeated) are not the answer. .. get a successful business woman or man to run ... at least they have tried to survive in this awful economy and met a payroll !!!!!

The defeat of Russo ought to tell you something, when the voters decide ... they don''t want some "loser" like Kabot, et al to be thereafter appointed ... get a clue, boys and girls ...
By JimmyKBond (156), Hampton Bays on Nov 10, 09 11:00 PM
Maybe you should run. I'd vote for either Pope or Fleming.
By Noah Way (450), Southampton on Nov 11, 09 6:26 PM
>> “'Mum is the word,' Ms. Kabot said."

NOW she decides to keep her mouth shut!

Bad timing, Linda.
By Frank Wheeler (1826), Northampton on Nov 10, 09 6:00 PM
1 member liked this comment
Please, Linda, run. We need your knowledge and pluck on the Board.
By SusieD (115), Southampton on Nov 10, 09 6:23 PM
Yes, please run so that we can savor the deliciousness of defeating you twice in one year!
By yearrounder (208), Southampton on Nov 11, 09 11:16 AM
thats just what the town needs dan russo back again. he'd be a good lap dog for ath again!
By ridiculous (214), hampton bays on Nov 11, 09 12:54 PM
The best Town Board is a Town Board that represents all the people, right? So let's see, right now we have two Republicans (Nancy Graboski and Chris Nuzzi), an unaffiliated voter backed by the Democrats (Anna Throne- Holst), and a Conservative backed by the Republicans (Jim Malone). So how about a Democrat for the vacant seat? Sounds right -- after all, there are over 11,000 registered Dems in Southampton, the largest party after the Republicans. It seems these voters should have a voice.

This ...more
By Turkey Bridge (1979), Quiogue on Nov 11, 09 3:24 PM
1 member liked this comment
Is there some disclosure you'd like to make at this time, Turkey Bridge?

But if 11,000 registered Southampton Town Democrats were unable to elect your kind of Democrat, where's the mandate to elect the Fleming woman? Didn't she finish fourth in a four person race?

Jus' sayin'.
By Frank Wheeler (1826), Northampton on Nov 11, 09 6:35 PM
Referring to a legitimate, highly qualified candidate as "the Fleming woman" is typical of the type of misogynistic rhetoric we've come to expect from Republicans. I guess Linda Kabot was the type of "woman" you could get behind simply because she was a Republican.
By yearrounder (208), Southampton on Nov 11, 09 7:24 PM
2 members liked this comment
Mr. Wheeler, I've no idea what kind of "disclosure" you're implying, but I have none to make. I do, however, recognize a common ploy of yours, an attempt to shift the onus to the other fellow -- you tried it recently with another commenter, suggesting he had some "personal stake" in the issue under discussion. Sorry, but I can't even call it a nice try.

On the other hand, you're quite right about the Democrats' failing to elect Ms. Fleming last week, a result I put down to a failure to ...more
By Turkey Bridge (1979), Quiogue on Nov 11, 09 8:20 PM
1 member liked this comment
Just a little addendum to my above comment: It's true that Bridget Fleming didn't win a seat on the Town Board, principally due to low turnout and a betrayal by the outside leadership of the Independence Party, the details of which I've related elsewhere. It's also true, however, that she went from being almost wholly unknown in the Spring to being the choice of all three local newspapers and over 5,300 voters in November, and this against two Republican candidates who were credible and very well ...more
By Turkey Bridge (1979), Quiogue on Nov 12, 09 10:48 AM
>> "It's true that Bridget Fleming didn't win a seat on the Town Board, principally due to low turnout and a betrayal by the outside leadership of the Independence Party" <<

So that's what really happened?

TB, you're starting to sound like Linda Kabot. Lots of excuses and rationalizations.
By Frank Wheeler (1826), Northampton on Nov 12, 09 7:46 PM
The Linda Kabot comparison is a good line, Mr. Wheeler, but it doesn't scan. I never presented low turnout as an excuse. If you read my comment immediately preceding the last one, you'd know I said the Democrats failed to meet the challenge of generating sufficient turnout. That's not an excuse, that's saying we fell short. As far as the Independence Party is concerned, if you paid attention to the Southampton Town election results, you'd know that with the sole exception of Fred Havemeyer, ...more
By Turkey Bridge (1979), Quiogue on Nov 12, 09 11:35 PM
Wrong. Kabot is their kind of woman because she's a liar, a drunk driver, and a horrible financial manager who blames the world for her failings.

Republican Family Values!
By littleplains (305), olde england on Nov 13, 09 1:53 PM
Hopefully the line "you haven't heard the last of Linda Kabot" was in reference to her court appearances rather than elections.
By Noah Way (450), Southampton on Nov 11, 09 6:28 PM
2 members liked this comment
None of the unsuccessful candidates from the last election should run for the vacant Council seat. Not one of them mentioned the costly patronage system in the police department as a source of savings in the current bleak economy. I will support whoever runs who has the spine to highlight this bank-busting giveaway.
By highhatsize (4217), East Quogue on Nov 11, 09 7:25 PM
We need new postive people in town hall. Dan Russo was very effective in the short time that he was in office. He brought a back bone to code enforcement in shutting down the group homes and share houses. He did a good job in North Sea. My second choice would be Flemming, as she has business experience and law experience. We need a functioning cohesive town board, not old dead wood. A candidate that is by and for the people. I dont see a third choice at this point.
By North Sea Citizen (568), North Sea on Nov 12, 09 6:32 AM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By ridiculous (214), hampton bays on Nov 13, 09 3:36 PM
How about an accomplished business woman or man in this town? A person who has met payrolls, run a business and has some good common sense. Nuzzi is planning to run for Supervisor someday; let's identify another person with the practical skills to move up in the town hierarchy -- regardless of Party. Are the Democrats and the Republicans capable of reaching beyond those who couldn't get a job elsewhere so they gravitate to the public trough? Be creative and put the taxpayers first, for a change.
By JimmyKBond (156), Hampton Bays on Nov 12, 09 10:07 AM
Turkey Bridge-if someone has the support of 3 local newspapers and still loses logic tells me she's a loser. Bridget's days in politics are over. Bring Linda back-we need her experience.
By EastEnd68 (888), Westhampton on Nov 12, 09 6:46 PM
That's not very realistic, EE68, unless you feel she's capable of again "serving" after her two years of "ruling."

She needs to take a break and attend a Dale Carnegie course, then come back in '11 and make herself available to pick up the fiscal pieces.
By Frank Wheeler (1826), Northampton on Nov 12, 09 7:51 PM
JimmyK,
Thats what the town needs is a business person as the town is a giant corporation with an income and expense stream. Career politicians need balance from the business community.
I dont know why Dan stopped coming maybe he was hung out to dry. Thats really not as bad as Heaney walking away from running the town for 6 weeks. That should have been litigated.
By North Sea Citizen (568), North Sea on Nov 13, 09 7:59 AM
To INS:

Thanks, I was completely ignorant of this multi-million dollar patronage scheme until I became interested in the Kabot DUI incident. Researching that event led to the 2008 Town Hall mobbing by uniformed cops, and that led to the discovery of the patronage scheme whose possible derailing caused the cops to intimidate the Town Council.

Some cons just up and smack you in the face. Finding out that the Town is spending millions of dollars every year on unnecessary cops while ...more
By highhatsize (4217), East Quogue on Nov 13, 09 10:13 AM
2 members liked this comment
I think that East End Quartermaster used to sell firearms as well. Don't know if they still do.

Shouldn't this matter be forwarded to the Southampton Town Ethics Board's attention? http://www.town.southampton.ny.us/appointedboards.ihtml#D


By Frank Wheeler (1826), Northampton on Nov 13, 09 5:24 PM
2 members liked this comment
.Fleming is a highly qualified individual who owns and operates her own successful law firm, she had the most impressive qualifications of anyone in the SH Town races this year, she received the endorsements of all of the news papers. She did not get the Independence line. That is why she lost. Did you notice that ALL of the candidates who had the Independence line won. That party...more specifically....the county chairman of the Independence party will determine who will win the special election ...more
By SHNative (554), Southampton on Nov 13, 09 9:09 PM
1 member liked this comment