By Kathryn G. Menu
The Independence Party has tapped East Hampton Village Administrator Larry Cantwell as its candidate for East Hampton Town Supervisor this fall.
Two weeks ago, Cantwell announced he would seek both the Independence and Democratic parties endorsement to seek the top seat on the East Hampton Town Board in elections this fall.
According to Independence Party chairwoman Elaine Jones — who made the endorsement announcement on Monday afternoon after screening candidates last Tuesday — “experience was clearly the most impressive quality among candidates this year.”
“Larry Cantwell received the nod for the Supervisor spot,” said Jones and vice chairwoman Pat Mansir in a press release issued late Monday. “He carries with him the peaceful demeanor needed to bring consensus and unified forward-thinking among people. And his more than 30 years in public service is a testament to the success of his approach.”
Cantwell screened with the Independence Party along with Zachary Cohen, who was the Democratic candidate in 2011, narrowly losing to incumbent Republican Supervisor Bill Wilkinson. Wilkinson has chosen not to seek another term, and Nancy Keeshan, the town’s planning board vice chairman, once rumored to be the front runner for the Republican nomination, has withdrawn her name from contention.
“I am proud to have their nomination,” said Cantwell on Tuesday afternoon.
Republican Committee chairman Kurt Kappel has maintained his desire the party run its own candidate. When asked about the potential for a three party endorsement for supervisor, Cantwell said his focus was now on securing the East Hampton Democratic Committee’s endorsement.
That committee is expected to host its convention on May 15.
“My approach is one step at a time,” said Cantwell. “I am very pleased to have the Independence Party nomination because I look forward to being a consensus builder and leader in East Hampton. I think the Independence Party has shown a willingness to reach across party lines. Over the years, especially recently, they have endorsed candidates from different parties and I think the town is looking for someone who can reach across the aisle.”
The Independence Party has also endorsed Fred Overton and incumbent Dominick Stanzione for town board — candidates that have already received the endorsement of the Republic Committee.
Overton is stepping down from his long time position as town clerk this year. Stanzione is seeking a second term on the town board.
“For the last 48 years, Fred Overton served this community as a volunteer with the Springs Fire Department,” said Jones. “He has run his own business, was our town assessor for eight years and for 13 years has been the town clerk. In all of his positions he has been presented with difficult and confidential situations that were handled with finesse and genuine kindness. He us unflappable.”
Jones cited Stanzione’s ability to work with others and think independently as a board member as the reason for his endorsement.
“More importantly, he has been able to flourish under pressure when he has had to battle to be an independent thinker,” said Jones. “Dominick has stood up to politics and made decisions based on what is good for the people and the environment. He deserves four more years.”
The party also endorsed Carol Brennan — also supported by the Republican Committee — to take Overton’s seat as town clerk, and Joe Bloecker — a town trustee — for assessor. Bloecker also has the support of the Republican Committee.
Carl Irace, an East Hampton attorney who has won the Republican Committee endorsement and served as the assistant town attorney from 2010 to 2012, earned the Independence Party endorsement for town justice, and Stephen Lynch has been supported for another term as superintendent of highways.
Diane McNally, Stephanie Talmage Forsberg, Sean McCaffrey, Nat Miller, Steven Lester, Tim Bock, Brian Pardini, Brian Byrnes and Dennis Curles have the party’s support in the town trustee race.
“The Independence Party is committed to achieving the best government the town can possibly offer,” said Jones and Mansir. “That involves candidates from both parties working diligently together toward the best approaches and innovations for our town. The Independence Party, itself, will work endlessly to achieve these goals.”