By Kathryn G. Menu
Noyac resident and Southampton Town Councilwoman Bridget Fleming was a hardy victor in the Democratic primary for the 1st District New York State Senate race against Rocky Point litigation attorney Jennifer Maertz last Thursday. The decisive win gives Fleming, an attorney with offices in Sag Harbor, the Democratic line this November in the New York State Senate race against veteran Republican State Senator Ken LaValle.
Unofficial results from the Suffolk County Board of Elections showed Fleming earned 2,031 votes in the primary, 79.08-percent of voters supporting her bid for the Democratic nomination.
Maertz earned 531 votes or 20.67-percent of the votes cast in this race on Thursday.
“I think this race has really strengthened our resolve and given us confidence that the voters are looking for an alternative to the current leadership we have on the East End in Albany,” said Fleming around 10:15 p.m. Thursday night.
Fleming gave praise to Maertz, someone she said she hopes to work with on community issues.
“I am very pleased with the outcome and it is consistent with what we have heard from residents as we have moved through this campaign,” she added.
On Monday, Maertz noted that her defeat to Fleming coincided with the lowest voter turnout in the entire State of New York for the 2012 primary races. Maertz said she believed it was either voter apathy or perhaps local Democrats were not particularly interested in this specific race.
“Out of the voters who did go to the polls, it was a question of which candidate was able to reach the voters that would turn out for this primary,” said Maertz. “And she won that battle.”
“I do wish Bridget all the best in her campaign,” added Maertz.
Fleming will now prepare to face off against LaValle, a decades long member of the New York State Senate.
“He is a veteran state senator for 36 years and one thing I know from the work we have done talking to voters is 36 years is far too long to be in Albany,” said Fleming. “We need to convey that message first and foremost. Instead of local investment we see our tax dollars going elsewhere in New York State. Eastern Suffolk County is ready for someone who will truly represent its needs and interests.”
Two debates between LaValle and Fleming will be hosted by the League of Women Voters of the Hamptons — the first on October 15 in Hampton Bays and the second on October 22 in East Hampton with locations yet to be announced.