By Kathryn G. Menu
It is unlikely the East Hampton Town Republican Party will have a supervisor candidate in the November 5 town elections after a write-in contest last month ultimately nominated Democratic and Independence Party candidate Larry Cantwell for the endorsement. Cantwell officially declined the nomination in a letter sent to the Suffolk County Board of Elections (BOE) on Monday.
Of the 4,094 register Republicans in East Hampton, just 69 votes or 1.69 percent were for the write-in primary for town supervisor on September 10. The Suffolk County BOE released the official results of that race late last week.
Cantwell, who has long maintained he was not interested in accepting a Republican nomination, earned 35 votes in the write-in primary, or 50.7 percent of the vote. Incumbent town supervisor Bill Wilkinson earned 13 votes, or 18.8 percent of the vote, followed by Republican Councilwoman Theresa Quigley, who like Wilkinson, is not seeking another term in office. She earned three votes. Both Dominick Stanzione — the only incumbent Republican seeking reelection to the town board — and town clerk turned Republican town board candidate Fred Overton earned two votes each.
John Talmage, Bob Kauffman, Sag Harbor Trustee Ed Deyermond, Paul Amaden, Zach Cohen, Steven Lynch, Dennis Bennett, Jr., Jerry Lane, Glenn Beck, Len Bernard, John Courtney, Jay Schneiderman, Mark Dodd and Martin Drew each had one write-in vote cast in their favor.
“My position has been consistent for some time now,” said Cantwell on Tuesday of declining the nomination. “I previously announced I would not accept this nomination weeks before the primary, which I thought was fair to voters.”
Cantwell said there are a number of reasons he has chosen to decline a Republican nomination, dating back to June when party officials asked Cantwell if he would accept their endorsement.
The East Hampton Republican Committee had originally hoped to nominate Suffolk County Legislator Jay Schneiderman as their candidate for supervisor. Schneiderman ultimately turned them down, choosing instead to seek a final term on the legislature. Unable to field a candidate, the committee eventually chose to allow Republican voters to select their own candidate in a write-in primary.
“One, I have always felt it would have been better for the Republican Committee to have its own candidate so we could have a campaign and debate the issues facing East Hampton,” said Cantwell. “The other consideration is I support Job Potter and Kathee Burke-Gonzalez [Democratic candidates for town board] and it is just not fair to Job and Kathee for me to appear with them on the Democratic line, the Independence Party line with the Republican candidates for town board and then again on the Republican line with those candidates as well.”
Calls to Republican Committee chairman Kurt Kappel were not returned as of press time.
For now, Cantwell is focused on the future, and a campaign that will only get busier leading up to the November 5 election.
On Sunday, October 6 the Democratic candidates for East Hampton Town supervisor and town board will hold their fifth community “Listen In” at Christ Church’s Upper Parish Hall at 5 Union Street in Sag Harbor.
Residents of Sag Harbor are invited to express ideas and concerns about issues impacting their community. The event will begin at 11:30 a.m. with refreshments, following by a discussion from 11:45 a.m. to 12:45 p.m.
“Listening is the most important skill a town board member can have,” said Cantwell. “I think the town needs to work more closely with Sag Harbor residents.”
In the Southampton races, next week a debate between Democratic, Independence and Working Families party candidate and incumbent town supervisor Anna Throne-Holst and her Republican challenger Linda Kabot, who also has the Conservative Party line, will be held at 7 p.m. at the North Sea Community House on Noyac Road in North Sea.
That debate is sponsored by the North Sea Community Association. On October 8, the Noyac Civic Council will host the Southampton trustee, superintendent of highways, town council, town supervisor and county legislature candidates at a 7:30 p.m. forum.