By Claire Walla
Sending shock waves through the Town of Southampton, the town’s GOP Party announced last Wednesday, May 18 that headlining its Republican roster for town board elections this coming November will be current councilman Chris Nuzzi who the party has tapped as its candidate for supervisor.
Nuzzi, who as of press time had not responded to several phone calls, had allegedly stated the week prior to the GOP announcement that he had no plans to run against incumbent supervisor Anna Throne-Holst (an Independent backed by the Democratic Party). However, a week ago, Southampton Town GOP Chair Ernie Wruck publicly announced Nuzzi had received his party’s nomination.
Nuzzi is reportedly still deciding whether or not he wants to run.
However, as far as Wruck is concerned, “He’s the candidate.”
“The acceptance process seems to be somewhat of a misnomer,” Wruck said. The Republican Party completed a petition to add Nuzzi’s name to the ballot, Wruck explained.
“He has not declined,” Wruck continued. “We are moving forward with Chris [Nuzzi] as our candidate.”
As to what the party might be up against should Nuzzi back out of the race, Wruck said there’s a legal process involved with replacing a candidate, “but we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it.”
Firmly joining the Republican Party ticket are two newcomers seeking two open council seats: retired Southampton Town Police Lieutenant Bill Hughes and former Southampton Town Assistant Attorney Christine Preston Scalera.
Though he would be a newcomer to the board, Bill Hughes is not a stranger to Southampton Town politics — he ran and lost in a special election last year against current Town Board Member Bridget Fleming (Dem.).
Hughes said he’s running again this year because “I know I can make a difference.”
Hughes lives in Hampton Bays, where he’s been for over 30 years, but he said working for the Southampton Town Police force for 29 years has given him a extensive knowledge of the entire town.
Though he retired back in 2000, Hughes has remained active in the community, volunteering with the Boy Scouts of America, Knights of Columbus and Friends of the 106th Rescue Group.
“Sometimes it is the unlikely politician that might work the best in public service,” he concluded. “I’m 60 years old, I’m not looking to advance my own political career. I like to listen, work for others and form a consensus. I’m a candidate who can do that full-time.”
Christine Preston Scalera
Now a resident of Water Mill, Preston Scalera has spent nearly 20 years as a municipal attorney on Long Island, serving as a deputy attorney for Nassau County and Oyster Bay, and then (from 2003 to 2006) as assistant town attorney in Southampton.
“I’m excited about having been nominated,” she said, adding that she looks forward to the opportunity to serve in the town in which she lives.
“I like to think I would bring a new perspective to the board, with a balanced approach and a respect for others’ opinions,” she added.
Though Preston Scalera said the Republican Party will reveal more about its campaign “as it evolves,” she added that after watching the way some of this year’s town board meetings have progressed, one of her goals would be to keep the board’s attention focused on the pressing issues.
“What compelled me to get involved is, it just seems as though sometimes more time is being spent on other issues, and not what affects residents more directly,” she explained. “I look forward to a good debate on the issues that matter.”