As expected Sag Harbor’s Anna Throne-Holst, presently a Southampton Town councilwoman, was picked by the Democratic Party on Friday, May 29, to run for Southampton Town Supervisor. The nomination sets up a contest which will pit the one-term councilwoman against the head of the town’s Conservative Party, James Malone, who was nominated by the Republican Party last week to run for the top spot. Malone himself is expected to face a primary from incumbent town supervisor, Linda Kabot, who waged a primary challenge herself two years ago over then-incumbent supervisor, Patrick “Skip” Heaney.
A press release, emailed to the press by Throne-Holst last week, said she “would not engage in the messy and negative campaigns of her opponents in the race for Supervisor, incumbent Republican Linda Kabot and the Republican nominee James Malone, the Conservative Party Chairman.”
Of her opponents she said, “The challenger has not demonstrated any capacity to manage town government and the incumbent has demonstrated a complete incapacity to do so.”
She added, “My candidacy is about addressing the issues, fixing what is clearly broken and restoring confidence in town leadership. Rather than joining the bickering, I will use the months ahead to lay out my priorities and improved approaches for better governance,” she said. “I know that we’re all tired of the endless politicking and finger-pointing. Instead we have to focus on the business of building Southampton’s future.”
Throne Holst is joined by fellow town council candidates Sally Pope of Remsenberg, who won a seat last year, and Bridget Fleming, an attorney from Sag Harbor. Pope and Fleming will face incumbent Chris Nuzzi and first-time candidate William Wright.
Kabot acknowledged yesterday that she will fight Malone for the party’s line on the November ballot. As she did in 2007, Kabot is painting herself as a candidate not beholden to party officials.
“I’m going to take this to the people,” she said yesterday. “I believe I’m the people’s supervisor, if not the party’s.”
“Unfortunately the committee apparently disagrees with my type of government,” she said, “which supports transparency and is inclusive.”
Kabot claimed that party leaders engaged in “Boss Tweed-style politics” in their effort to force her off the ballot, and feels that the move is a kind of retribution for the very public way she has recently explored the town’s financial woes, which may reflect badly on fellow-party members.
“I don’t think they like the way I shine the light of day on town finances,” said Kabot. “But shining a light is the best disinfectant.”
In nominating Malone last week, GOP chairman Marcus Stinchi said, “Clearly one of the lead story lines will be the overwhelming decision of the committee to not back the re-election of incumbent supervisor Linda Kabot. I said all along that, in the Republican Party, incumbency is no guarantee and this year was no exception. I think the choice crystallized for most of the committee in the last two weeks.”
Throne-Holst declined to handicap the Republican primary, which is scheduled for September 15.
“She has the incumbency, which is a position of strength,” observed Throne-Holst, “but on the other hand, he offers an option within the party.”
Regardless, she said, whoever wins will not affect the way she runs her campaign.
“My campaign will be entirely issues-oriented,” said Throne-Holst. “And only to work toward Southampton’s future.”
The current financial problem in town is an overriding issue which “trickles down” to affect virtually all aspects of town government, she added.
“We’re going to have to make some difficult decisions; how we bring efficiencies and how we restructure certain departments,” she said.
“Mass layoffs are not a real option,” she cautioned, “but there are some changes that will have to be made.”
Throne-Holst said her hesitation to announce her candidacy —Â widely believed to be a forgone conclusion —Â was to give her a chance to “think long and hard about it.”
She also urged the Democratic Party —Â of which she is not a registered member —Â to “leave no stone unturned” in searching for a suitable candidate. She said she wouldn’t wage a campaign of her own if, for some reason, Friday’s vote hadn’t gone her way.
She feels her status as a “blank” —Â unregistered in any political party —Â is not a handicap.
“I really think party politics are a big source of the problem,” said Throne-Holst. “I mean it when I say I want to represent everyone —Â and the Democrats are comfortable with that.”